Volume 31 Issue 18 17 Jun 2022 18 Sivan 5782

Ma Koreh

Adam Carpenter – Head of Jewish Life Primary

Thinking about blessings

This has been the learning focus for Year 5 Jewish Studies. We have explored the different types of blessings, asked why we say blessings and have created our own blessings of gratitude. 

Students were asked to think more deeply about a couple of familiar blessings, which are recited during our Thursday morning tefillah. 

Students reflected on why we might have a blessing for being part of the Jewish community and what it means to be a member of the community.

Here is a selection of some of their responses: 

  • We have a responsibility towards the commandments and the traditions of Judaism.
  • We express gratitude for being taken out of Egypt and for being given the Torah.
  • It is both an honour and a responsibility to be Jewish and it is important to recognise this and show gratitude for it. 
  • We are grateful to be in a community, to be free and to have our own set of commandments or rules to live by.
  • We are thankful for being part of a caring community.
  • We are part of one big family who are responsible for one another.
  • It means we acknowledge and appreciate Israel, the Torah and our ancestor’s history.

In reflecting on the meaning and significance of the name for the Jewish people, Israel – ישראל, which means “struggle with G-d”, students wrote:

  • It means that in being Jewish we have to overcome hard times.
  • We have stayed with God, through all the struggles and challenges.
  • That we may disagree with God and have different opinions about what we think God wants from us.
  • We might struggle to understand what God wants or is saying to us.
  • We might wonder why we have certain rules and responsibilities as Jews.

Can you think of a situation where someone was blind to something or someone else? How did they “get sight” to see in that situation? 

  • We may be blind to someone who is sad and may not think about other people. We can ‘get sight’ by putting ourselves in their shoes.
  • We ignored a situation or a person, but were then able to see the situation from the other person’s perspective.
  • We might ignore problems or people around us.
  • We may not be blind literally, but mentally, as we might look past people’s flaws or treat other people disrespectfully.
  • We might be blind to what is happening in other people’s lives because we think we are the most important person in the world. Realising the bigger picture and that it is not all just about us, gives us insight and sight beyond ourselves.