May 20, 2024 |

Grade 7–Gesher Update

Posted on March 13, 2016

On Tuesday, we were Torah scholars exploring the parashat ha-shavua, Pekudei, through drama, Hebrew, the mitzvah of n’tilat yadiim (ritual hand washing), and midrash:  What is the mishkanlike?  A cave at the shore of the sea.  The sea comes up and fills the cave, but the sea is no less full.  Gesher students also develop Torah study questions for other classes to discuss.  The following are a two of their discussion questions: 1. All the Israelites participated in some way in the building of the Mishkan.  Have you participated in building something special or important? What did you build?  What made it special or important?  How did you feel when you completed that project?  2. The priests had special clothes for their priestly duties.  What special clothes do you have?  (Uniforms, Shabbat clothes, costumes, etc.) When and why do you wear these special clothes instead of the clothing that you wear on a daily basis?
While Tuesday is Torah day, Sundays include Meet the Prophets, Jewish Life Cycle, and Pirkei Avot. Today we learned about Jeremiah, a prophet who lived during the Babylonian exile.  While his book contains much rebuking of sinful ways and hollow adherence to ritual, it ends on a hopeful note encouraging the now Babylonian Jews to build robust lives for themselves in their new home and the verses (often sung during Jewish weddings) “Od yishama… b’arei Yehuda u-v’chutzot Yerushalyim… kol sasson v’kol simcha, kol hattan v’kol kallah. So says the Eternal: Yet there will be heard… in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem… the voice of gladness and the voice of joy, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride…”(Jeremiah 33: 10-11)

Have you ever been to a Jewish wedding?  What do you remember?  Every wedding is different, special and beautiful.  Some couples and officiants (usually rabbis) are committed to certain traditions and/or rituals while others choose to create their own ceremonies. Today we read a play, “Judi and Stan Get Married” and noted the many Jewish traditions presented.  Then we looked at the text of the Seven benedictions, sheva brachot, recited at many Jewish weddings.  Finally, students selected a blessing or two and illustrated what it meant to them.