Posted 11/24/2015 05:50PM
I am unworthy of the kindness that You have so steadfastly shown to Your servant. WIth my staff alone I crossed the Jordan and now I have become two camps. Parashat Vayishlakh, is the beginning of the Humash curriculum in 5th grade. One of the essential questions about Jacob and his family that our students focus on throughout the year is, "can people change?" When the teachers, Rivka and I developed this curriculum (in collaboration with our talented consultant, Marcia Kaunfer, as part of the JTS Standards and Benchmarks project) this question was vigorously debated. Do Judah and the brothers really do teshuvah with regards to their behavior towards Joseph? Does Joseph himself change as a result of his experiences? And what about Jacob? Over the course his dramatic lifetime, does he gain wisdom? Or does he remain the same sneaky self he always was, crossing his hands on his deathbed to prefer Ephrayim over Menashe?
Posted 11/18/2015 02:42PM
In this week's Torah portion, we read about Jacob's travels to Aram where he meets Laban, Rachel and Leah. The text tells us that Jacob immediately falls in love with Rachel and vows to work for Laban for seven years in order to win her hand in marriage. However, after seven years, at the wedding festivities, Laban brings Jacob Leah to be his wife instead of Rachel. The text suggests that even though they spend their wedding night together, it is only in the morning that Jacob recognizes that his new wife is Leah and not Rachel. Wondering how this is possible, Rashi refers us to the Talmud (Megillah 13b) where they offer a story that fills in the missing details.
Posted 11/17/2015 09:19AM
The High School Basketball teams traveled to Los Angeles to compete in the Steve Glouberman Z"L Basketball Tournament. The girls team placed 4th in the tournament and the boys team took home the championship.
Posted 11/11/2015 04:09PM
Pluralism is a word oft-heard and rarely defined. Perhaps this is the nature of pluralists, that we are concerned about how definitions can be limiting for ourselves and others, and about how we might end up highlighting our differences rather than reinforcing our commonalities. By not discussing what we mean by pluralism, however, we actually diminish its power and miss an opportunity to deepen and strengthen our identities and relationships. Why this topic now? Because, in the stories of Avraham and Yitzchak, I see two different models of pluralism: Avraham as a get-out-in-the-world pluralist, and Yitzchak as a stay-at-home pluralist.
Posted 11/11/2015 03:15PM
On Tuesday November 10, the Early Childhood/Lower School Library hosted author Mara Rockliff who met with the Kindergarten and 1st grade. Rockliff is the author of the recent critically acclaimed book, Chick Chak Shabbat, which explores the values and warmth of Shabbat shared with one's community. Through a multimedia, interactive presentation, Rockliff focused on the work of a picture book author and how an idea becomes a story. She discussed the process of how the story is written first, then illustrated, and in her case by a number of different illustrators. She also went on to show the process of physically printing and shipping the books.