The main focus of last session was on the Ten Commandments. The students were introduced to the story of the Ten Commandments in a puppet show-type format. We followed the show with a discussion of each of the commandments. Of particular interest was the second commandment (commonly known as “do not make idols”) which in the details actually states that only were the Israelites not to make idols or any images of Yahweh, but they were to not “make any sculptured image or any likeness of anything that is in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth.” We talked about this essentially meant people could not make pictures, sculptures, drawings, etc of anything in the natural world. I think they all decided that is not necessarily a commandment they felt they would want to follow (or one that makes sense to them). We had a good discussion about the ten commandments…the only commandment that actually tells people how to think and of the difficulty in following a commandment like this (“do not covet”). The discussion covered the common Jewish view of this commandment that it is important to not act upon these desires vs. other religion’s views that the commandment must be taken more literally. We talked about the “practical vs. “idealistic” interpretations. I got a sense from the students that they basically feel people should to try and live up to certain to that idealistic vision, but that it can be very difficult and the important thing to do is to try hard. Finally, as a group, the students came up with their own ten commandments:

1. Treat everyone fairly
2. Do not murder
3. Do not steal
4. Do not lie
5. Take care of the universe
6. Honor your father and mother
7. Stay as healthy as you can
8. Don’t be a bully
9. Share
10. Love

Commandment ten was a suggestion from Kai (spelling?) from the pre-school class.. everyone agreed it needed to be included.

We ended the class with the pre-school class by making toys for the small animals at the shelter. Stuffing toilet paper tubes with hay got a few of us sneezing, but we hope the animals enjoy them.

The information about the assignment for the next class can be downloaded HERE. Each parent received a copy at the session, however I am posting it here just in case anyone needs to take a look. Each student has been asked to select a Jew of interest to do some research on and prepare to tell the rest of the class what they learned about that person. My hope is that they can also learn how being Jewish and/or a Humanist influenced the person they selected throughout his or her life.

2 thoughts on “Class Summary, Middles – November 2009

  1. Scott-
    What a great job covering a difficult subject. Thanks for all the time and energy you put towards making this a great experience for Ian!

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