June 20, 2024 |

Grade 7/Gesher this Sunday

Posted on November 22, 2015

Shakespeare said, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
As part of our life cycle study, we are exploring Jewish naming traditions, the meaning of our own names and the people for whom we were named.  We looked to the Bible and found that only after Adam named all the animals did he realize that he had no partner thus there is a connection between ‘naming’ and ‘knowing.’  We learned that Isaac was named for laughter and the meaning of Jacob’s name is ‘heel’ because at birth he was holding on to the heel of his twin.  We learned that Leah named her first four sons in celebration of God’s recognition that Jacob loved her less than her sister.  Our exploration will include a micrography project and verses from Psalm 119.
We have learned about Jewish birthing and Brit Milah.  Today we learned about what happens when a Jewish family adopts a child.  How do we bring this child into the Jewish community?  Prior to hearing from Gail Pearlstein, our guest speaker, students considered adoption and asked,
·      If a child was not born Jewish and is adopted by Jewish parents, what happens? 
·      What about the child’s birth identity? 
·      Do your children know that they’re adopted?  If so, when and how did you tell them?
Gail told the story of her daughters’ adoption.  Born in Russia, they were living with hundreds of other children in an orphanage.  Her daughters were brought to America and immersed in the mikvah under the supervision of a Beit Din.  They have known all their lives that they’re adopted and, as they’re grown older, they have asked what that meant.  Gail said that as young adults, adopted children often experience feelings that they have no sense of where they came from and they look at their parents and realize that they don’t look like them.  Adopted children ask, “Why did my birth mother give me up?”  Gail shared that it can be challenging but that she tells them, “Always remember that you were not born under my heart, you were born in it.”