This week in Nitzanim (“Buds” for first and second graders נִצָּנִים), children heard a section from Breshit (Genesis בְּרֵאשִׁית) detailing the creation of animals and humans on Yom Shishi (sixth day יוֹם שִׁישִּׁי). While listening, the children asked insightful questions and engaged in a deep discussion about whether this was a real story or a “pretend” story.
Child 1: “There’s real things in the story but also fake things.”
Child 2: “Why would this be real? ‘Cause things [animals and humans] don’t just appear out of the middle of nowhere.”
Child 3: “I agree that things don’t just appear out of nowhere, but I agree they disappear.”
Child 1: “I think we are not exactly sure because that was before we were born.”
Child 2: “That’s magic [when God creates animals]. Real stuff doesn’t appear out of nowhere.”
Child 1: “So that means there were no dinosaurs. That’s a fake story because he (God) made humans. There’s no humans. But we found dinosaur bones. It’s a fake story.”
Child 3: “I don’t think it’s a fake story. I think it’s a true story even though it doesn’t have the evolution of apes, I still think it’s real because I believe in stuff.”
Then they created three-dimensional collages which they shared with the group.
Children at the Jewish Enrichment Center are given the freedom to interpret and disagree with the Torah, and theses Nitzanim-ers demonstrated a depth of understanding and confidence in expressing their ideas to a community of peers. Go Nitzanim!