• Story #5

    Why spend time on yetzirah (art/creating)? It’s integral to developing our ideas.

    As fourth and fifth grade children encountered the biblical Joseph, they considered elements of comics. Where will you “point your camera”? Thick lines. Wavy words. A splash of color. Zoom in. Whose perspective are you showing?

    Children portrayed the same moment so differently! By pairing Torah study with tools for visual expression, children offered each other nuanced text readings, vibrant and dramatic. Torah study, integrated with yetzirah (art/creating), deepened children’s capacity to consider the world from different perspectives.

    Who is Yosef? It depends how you see it.

  • Story #4

    What does it take for children to peel back the layers of a complex biblical figure like Yosef (Joseph) and develop their own interpretation?

    In the first – third grade group, children heard the text multiple times, wrestled with it with peers, and created with chalk pastels. Chalk pastel was such a rich, expressive material for this age group! Children could blend and layer, use pressure and big gestures to express their big feelings about this text.

    Children developed such nuanced interpretations! One 8-year-old thought the biblical Yosef changes through his life. He starts “being normal” and “turns angry” when “his brothers did all those bad things…, because it’s not really his fault that he’s Ya’akov’s [his father’s] favorite.” This child thinks that Yosef becomes a person who is “hiding himself.” Finally, years later, “he took off all of his disguises and showed himself…unleashing himself and revealing himself” to his brothers.

    Wow.

  • Story #3

    Elijah the Prophet. We open the door for him at Passover. We sing for his return at the end of Shabbat. Who is he, though?

    Children met Eliyahu in I Kings, when he seeks God in the wind, in the earthquake, in the fire, and finally, hears a soft, small voice. Children met Eliyahu in rabbinic literature, reminding us of our responsibility to make the world as it should be. Children met Eliyahu in folk tales, where he appears and provides for those in need. Finally, children considered why we might include this enigmatic character in our Passover seder.

    Second and third grade children considered what tools they would carry to help them hear the “soft, small voice” and make the world better. On Friday, March 13, 2020, their shrinky dink tools sat ready, the room filled with projects from children ages 3 – 15, for a family celebration that never took place.

  • Story #1

    In the winter of our second year, we created a symbol of personal yearning and communal responsibility. Inspired by two traditional Jewish morning prayers, our Mah Tovu tent knits together the personal intentions of children, parents, and grandparents.

    Today, we gather under our beautiful tent at the end of every session, adults and children together. It graces our singing space, a visible reminder of our commitment to each other.

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