As we journey between the festivals of Pesach and Shavu’ot, our Jewish calendar is filled with numerous days of celebration and commemoration, some ancient and some modern. Keeping track of these various days and their meaning and historical context can be challenging and, at times, confusing for students. Through Hebrew lessons, Jewish Studies and our morning Tefillah we seek to provide meaning, context and connections for students to help them make sense of these days.
Our morning tefillah has incorporated the daily counting of the Omer, which links the festivals of Pesach (celebrating our freedom) to Shavu’ot (celebrating the receiving of the Torah and our Jewish responsibilities).
Last week, Morah Erika’s Year 4 class applied Hebrew verbs they have learnt to the customs and celebrations of Lag B’Omer. This week Morah Jenny’s Year 4 students delved into the words of Hatikvah, reflecting on the meaning and significance of the line which describes our eyes gazing towards Zion and Jerusalem.
To mark Yom Yerushalayim, our Years 3-6 prayer service students reflected on the traditional blessing in the Amidah for the rebuilding of Jerusalem, as well as a video presenting the Jewish people’s 3 000 year old connection to the city. During Jewish Studies, Year 6 looked at a selection of Jerusalem poems by contemporary Hebrew poet Yehuda Amichai as a way of exploring the multifaceted, symbolic and political relationship between the city of Jerusalem, its inhabitants and people from around the world.
Year 5 students have been exploring the role and purpose of brachot (blessings) in Jewish tradition as well as studying a variety of Rabbinic texts to see how blessings are understood in our tradition. We are surrounded by brachot during our tefillah, counting of the Omer and in our daily reciting of Birkat HaMazon. After reading and reflecting on blessings found in their siddur, students were invited to compose their own blessing of gratitude.