Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hebrew School is Awesome, Really

By  for Raising Kvell

So I totally get that sitting around with friends bashing your collective Hebrew school experience from the 80s is pretty much a national Jewish sport, and that we’re all so “traumatized” and “tortured” by the years spent in the cantor’s office memorizing our haftarah portions while wondering when his shiny black hair piece was finally going to fall off that now we’re all refusing to send our own kids to Hebrew school, complaining that it’s a waste of time and they’re not going to learn anything anyway.
But I’m here to tell you that sending my kids to Sunday morning religious school at our local Los Angeles area synagogue is quite possibly the best thing to happen to me post-childbirth since the prescription for Percoset that I got following my two emergency C-sections.
Admittedly, my perspective is slightly skewed because I’m also a Hebrew school educator, but only part-time, one morning a week, in-between writing books, journalism assignments, and my full-time job as an online magazine editor (I want to make it clear that I’m not really this rah-rah sheket b’vakasha…hey!Hebrew school teacher spokesperson; I don’t wear t-shirts with the name of my synagogue on it).

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Youth Service is Cancelled


Please note that the 5:30 service and dinner on October 17th are cancelled.

Join us next month on November 14th

Monday, October 13, 2014

Just a quick preview of things coming up, events, plays, and learning opportunities.

Shalom Chaveirim,

This weekend:
Friday the 17th at 5:30 – Youth Service and Dinner

There is also a 7:30 service with special speaker, Julis Stiles, biblical artist.  Her artwork will be on exhibit in the Ben Weisbein Social Hall beginning Oct. 14th

Sunday the 19th at 5 p.m. member Ted Herstand presents his one-man play, “Harold.”  Deli supper to follow.  Tickets are $25 and must be made in advance.

Upcoming Courses:

Kabbalah, Mysticism, and Spirituality - Wednesday nights, beginning October 22nd through December 17th.
Through the different insights of teachers such as, the Neo-Chasidic teacher Rabbi Arthur Green, and Jewish scholars like Martin Buber, Aryeh Kaplan, and Abraham Joshua Heschel, we will explore deeper ideas and insights that can help us understand what useful insights does this shrouded Jewish mystical tradition hold. This will be not only take kabbalah and Jewish mysticism into consideration textually and historically but we will also be experientially delving into guided meditations, niggunim, and much more. Please join us on Wednesday nights from 6:30-8:00 p.m.  Sign up with Stacie, or 802-862-5125

Adult Hebrew Crash Course - Thursday nights beginning October 23rd through December 18th
Have you always wanted to learn to read Hebrew but never had the opportunity?  Now’s your chance.  If you’ve never had a Hebrew lesson before, this class is for you.  You’ll be reading after the first session, from 7:00-8:30 p.m.  sign up with Judy, or 802-862-5125

Global Day of Jewish Learning – Sunday, November 16th 10:00 a.m.-12 p.m.
The 2014 theme is Heroes, Villains, Saints and Fools: The People in the Book. The Bible is not a book to be idly read in passing, and the men and women of the Scriptures are more than mere life portraits: they continue to live and function long after their deaths in this world.  Four separate units to choose from, adults and teens.  No reservation needed, just show up.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Perfect Species

At this time of the year, Jews around the globe head out in search of the perfect lulav and etrog (Lulav refers to the grouping of lulav, hadassim and aravot, which, together with the etrog are referred to as the four species.) Since the lulav and etrog are used for the mitzvah of waving the four species, it’s important to find a set that is as perfect as can be.

So what makes a lulav and etrog “perfect”?

Lulav/Branch of a Palm Tree: A lulav is actually the closed frond of a date palm tree. A nice lulav is green, with no signs of dryness. It should be straight, without any bends or twists near the top. The tip and top leaves of the lulav must be whole, and not split. It is placed in the center of the hadassim and the aravot with its spine facing inward.

Hadassim/Three Myrtle Branches: The hadassim, which are bound on the right side of the lulav, should have moist, green leaves grouped in level rows of three. There should be no large, uncovered section of stem. The stem and the leaves should be whole, without any nips at the top and the leaves should cover the entire branch to the top. There should not be more berries than leaves and there should be no large twigs.

Aravot/Two Willow Branches: The aravot, which are bound to the left side of the lulav (slightly lower than the hadassim) should have reddish stems with green, moist leaves. The leaves should be long, narrow and smooth-edged, with no nips or tears.

Etrog/Citron: The Torah describes the etrog as “the fruit of a beautiful tree” (Leviticus 23:40). Ideally, the skin of this yellow (or green when not ripe) citrus fruit must be clean of spots and discolorations. It should be bumpy, not smooth like a lemon, and should be broad at the bottom and narrow toward the top. (Please note that the etrog is very delicate and should be handled with care. If dropped, the etrog can be damaged and rendered unfit for use!)

Wishing everyone a Chag Sameach

Reprinted from JewishTreats.