May 26, 2024 |


Posted on January 7, 2018

It was wonderful reuniting with our amazing Gesher students!  We shared highlights of our winter vacations and then jumped into Jewish learning.  We reviewed the Jewish calendar noticing how the Hebrew months fell compared to the Gregorian months and also the placement of Jewish holidays.  Did you know that there are four new years on the Jewish calendar?  Rosh Hashanah, Tu B’Shevat (the 15thday of the Hebrew month of Shevatalso known as the New Year for trees), the first of Nissan and the first of Elul.Since Tu B’Shevat will fall on January 31st this year, we wondered about this holiday learning that it began as a sort of tax year for fruit bearing trees and was transformed by the mystics of Tzefat into a celebration of nature as part of God’s creation.  The Torah is compared to a tree: Etz Chaim hee l’machazeekim bah, (it is a tree of life for those who hold fast to it…) and people are also compared to trees: Pirkei Avot (3: 17) presents a comparison between humans and trees suggesting that a person whose learning exceeds his/her deeds is like a tree with shallow roots and a person whose deeds exceed his/her learning is like a tree with deep roots and sparse branches.
Bar Argaman introduced our students to the Israeli Scouts explaining that their uniforms are khaki, the color of sand and that each scouting session includes four parts: game time, content time, point of view time, and scouting time.  Students had the opportunity to play a scouting game and to learn the Russian Vein Blocker, a first aide skill.  
In the final hour we looked at a very famous mishna from Pirkei Avot (1:14):
If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
 If I am for myself only, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Students developed their own interpretations of this mishna and then used the i-pads to create video commentaries.

In a future session, we will enjoy more Tu B’Shevat texts, some tastes and perhaps a Torah Godly Play Tu B’Shevat story.  We also look forward to welcoming Robin Kahn to our class to be a special guest speaker as part of our Jewish Life Cycle guest speakers series.