On April 10, our Jewish Cultural Sunday School met, with a warm and sunny day allowing our groups to have some break time outdoors. Indoors, each class had a busy morning. We had two marvelous guest teachers this month – Sam Wegner and Molly Phipps.
With just two more JCSS sessions this year, be sure to let neighbors, friends, co-workers and family members who may have an interest in our program know about us, to plan for fall registration. Feel free have them contact me at arty.oremet.org, or send me their contact info and I will reach out if they are interested in visiting before our year ends.
The Littles Group, PreK – Kindergarten, guest teacher Sam Wegner
The Middles Group, Grades 1 – 2, guest teacher Molly Phipps.
The Juniors Group, Grades 3-5, teacher Renee Dorman
The B’Mitzvah Prep Group, Grades 6-7, teacher Eva Cohen
Our April class was a critical exploration of the laws, legends, and leadership of ancient Israel and Judah. After our usual icebreakers and Hebrew warm-up, students read and discussed a mix of laws from Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. They evaluated whether or not each law was ethical from a Humanistic Jewish perspective, and considered how laws reflect the culture and value system of the society that produces them.
Then we stepped back to verbally and visually review the Torah’s narrative arc. After this review, students learned how the story of the Israelites continues in Nevi’im (the Book of Prophets)–from the conquest of Canaan to the period of judges to rule under the kings Saul, David, and Solomon to the period of divided monarchies (Israel in the north and Judah in the south) to Israel’s destruction by the Assyrians and Judah’s conquest by Babylonia. We discussed the relationship between this narrative and real history, including how the archaeological evidence suggests that the Israelites developed as an ethnic group inside Canaan instead of coming from outside and conquering it.
We also talked about how the evidence suggests that David was a real king or chief who ruled over a much smaller area than the legends describe. This segued to our final activity–looking at the Tel Dan inscription, a real piece of Canaanite archaeological evidence. Students used Paleo-Hebrew guides to decode part of the ancient (~800 BCE) inscription, discovering that it describes a victory over a king from “beit David”–“the house of David.” Inspired by this ancient inscription, students formed their own clay tablets and inscribed them in Paleo-Hebrew. It was a messy but fun finish to our lesson!