Life and Learning… The J Takes You There

Rachelletestblog

Want a little chocolate with your Hebrew?

A Melton Moment
Come for the learning. Stay for the community.  This is one of our Melton slogans.
Here is an example of what it can mean.  A Dallas Melton student recently celebrated her Bat Mitzvah…as an adult. She led the service, chanted from the Torah and delivered a beautiful d’var Torah. Torah honors were shared with her family,  her fellow Melton students and teachers.  She said the learning environment and the community of learners in her Melton classes inspired her to pursue a Bat Mitzvah and set an example for her two young daughters.  Her Melton story was  my Melton moment in July of 2013. Come for the learning. Stay for the community.   What will your story be?

Hebrew-Chocolate1Chocolate Hebrew is a CRASH COURSE in Hebrew and in 13 hours, this unique, multi-sensory, non-threatening intensive class will take the mystery out of the Hebrew alphabet – and prepare you to learn both Modern Hebrew and Prayer Book Hebrew. Wouldn’t it be great to be reading Hebrew in time for the High Holidays? In just a week, you’ll be reading Hebrew – really!!!
a taste pf meltonClasses begin August 26 at 9:30 am. Questions? Click here
A Taste of Melton is another sweet treat offered at the J this month.  Sample the program that everyone is talking about and satisfy your hunger for class that every is talking about and satisfy your hunger for Jewish knowledge with our well balanced approach to adult Jewish learning!
FREE sample class August 28th at 9:30 am To RSVP click here

On June 23rd the JCC and the Camp Chai community will honor my teacher and friend, Laura Seymour on the occasion of her Double Chai.  We will be celebrating 36 years of Camp Chai under Laura’s adept leadership.  Laura is a master teacher and has taught so many in our community from toddlers to seniors.  The Double Chai event celebrates Laura’s work with the children of our community.  Camp Chai is amazing and so many of our current community leaders met their BFF’s during cherished summers there.  Their parents (and grandparents) have come to know Laura as a much loved Melton teacher.  Laura impacts adult lives every week (when Camp Chai is NOT in session!) Our Melton year has come to a close and the adults will have to wait our turn while Laura works her magic in Camp Chai for the next 9 weeks.  I don’t have kids in J camps this summer but I will be here on June 23rd celebrating my friend and my teacher.  I hope you will be there too.

Purchase your tickets now at www.jccdallas.org/doublechai

Shavuot: What’s It All About?

Shavuot means ‘weeks’ and is celebrated seven weeks after Passover. It combines celebration of the grain harvest of the early summer and the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai seven weeks after the exodus from Egypt.
The giving of Torah on Sinai is the seminal event of Jewish Shavuotreligious memory, establishing the covenant between God and Israel.  All night study on Shavuot is a kabbalistic (mystical) custom that is relatively new to Jewish tradition. It is increasingly popular among modern Jews and is meant to help us rededicate ourselves to studying Torah. Kabbalists taught that at midnight on Shavuot the skies open for a brief moment and God favorably hears all prayers.
Dairy items are the food of choice for Shavuot. Many families enjoy blintzes and other dairy foods at dinner.  This is a custom is tied to a description of Israel in as the
“land flowing with milk and honey” in Exodus 3:8. Cheesecake is a widely popular Shavuot item in the United States and is often served for dessert and during late night study sessions. In keeping with tradition the J has decided to host a Shavuot Cheesecake Recipe Contest!  Starting May 8th go to this link and post your favorite recipe. Join US.

What do bonfires, weddings, haircuts and bows and arrows have in common?

What do bonfires, weddings, haircuts and bows and arrows have in common?
They are all ways that we celebrate Lag Ba’Omer.

Lag Ba’Omer is coming, and with it the ancient tradition of building bonfires, weddings, first haircuts and bows and arrows. The most popular explanations for the origin of this holiday is that it marks the death of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who is credited as the author of the mystical Zohar and teacher of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism).  He told his students to celebrate his death and they have traditionally complied by converging on his grave each year on the eve of his death with glowing torches. In Israel, bonfires light up the night even those who don’t light big fires do like to light their barbecues and enjoy grilled food on this holiday.

This holiday takes place on the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer and is a break in the 49 day mourning period between Pesach and Shavuot.  This year the holiday takes place on April 28th.  It is a popular day for weddings, celebrations and first haircuts. Do you know someone getting married on that day? Some families have picnics and bon fires are very popular.  It is also customary to give children bows and arrows to play with.  Why bows and arrows?

Rabbi Zell of Congregation Tiferet Israel shared this traditional midrash (story) from an unknown source.  It connects the bows and arrows to Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

After the flood, God placed a rainbow in the sky as a symbol to Noah that never again would He destroy the world (through water).  Throughout the entire life of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai a rainbow never appeared in the sky indicating that through the merit of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, God would never even entertain the idea of destroying the world.  Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai died on Lag B’Omer.  He was the “rainbow” and in observance of his yahrzeit (anniversary of his death) young children are given “bows” and arrows.

Share your thoughts or questions about this and other Jewish holidays with Rachelle Weiss Crane rweisscrane@jccdallas.org

Passover Page Web Graphic

YOU KNOW THE “BIG FOUR” – THOSE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS EVERYONE LEARNS BUT THERE ARE LOTS MORE QUESTIONS WE SHOULD BE ASKING!!!
TRY THESE AT YOUR SEDER

  • What would you have taken out of Egypt if you had to carry it to the Promised Land (for forty years)?
  • What does it mean that Pharoah had a “hard heart”?
  • In Genesis 15: 13-14, Abram is told that his offspring would be slaves.  Why did we need slavery?

Answer:  I find it fascinating that G-d told Abram that the people would be enslaved for 400 years and then “hears” their moaning finally – why wait?   What is the lesson?

  • What does freedom mean to you?
  • Why do we invite Elijah to the seder?

Answer:  Elijah is the prophet who is supposed to come and announce the coming of the messiah which will bring peace to all and we will return to Jerusalem (when we say “next year in Jerusalem” we are not referring to a Passover visit but a time of peace throughout the world.   We also place a chair for Elijah at every bris hoping that this child will be the messiah (thankfully, he did not come to the bris of either of my son’s – I guess he knew better!).

We hope that these questions encourage everyone to talk at their sederim.

EVERYONE KNOWS MOSES BUT THERE ARE MANY OTHER IMPORTANT PEOPLE IN THIS FREEDOM STORY – SEE WHO YOU KNOW (most are in Exodus but a few are hidden in Midrash!)

Who are these people?

  • Miriam:   Moses’ older sister
  • Aaron:   Moses’ older brother
  • Yocheved:   Moses’ mother
  • Amram:   Moses’s father
  • Shifrah & Puah: the two midwives who told Pharoah that the Hebrews had their babies too fast and they could not be there when the boy was born – Genesis 1: 15 – 22.
  • Batiyah:   Pharoah’s daughter who took Moses out of the Nile.  It is told in Midrash that she left with Moses when he took the people out of Egypt.
  • Nachshon:   the midrash tells that when Moses put his staff into the Red Sea, it did not split.  Nachshon went in saying that he had faith in G-d and believed that they would be saved.   Nachson went in up to his ankles; his knees; his thighs; his waist; his shoulders.  All the people yelled for him to come back but he told them to have faith.  When he was almost up to his mouth, the sea split!!   We should all have Nachshon moments when we do what we believe.

Passover Songs

EVERYONE KNOWS “DAYANU” AND MOST REMEMBER “CHAD GADYA” – “ELIYAHU HANAVI” IS ANOTHER STANDARD!!   BUT, WHAT ABOUT SOMETHING NEW??   TRY  SOME OF THESE SONGS AT YOUR SEDER – GOOD FOR YOUNG AND OLD!

There’s No Seder Like Our Seder

Tune: “There’s No Business Like Show Business”

There’s no seder like our seder There’s no seder I know. Everything about  is Halachic, Nothing that the Torah won’t allow. Listen how we read the whole Haggadah, It’s all in Hebrew ‘cause we know how. There’s no seder like our seder, We tell a tale that is swell: Moses took the people out into the heat They baked the matzah While on their feet Now isn’t that a story That just can’t be beat? Let’s go on with the show!

Tonight

Tune: “Tonight” from West Side Story

Tonight, tonight, We’ll tell a tale tonight Of Pharoah, Slaves and G-d’s awesome might. We’ll do it right, with matzah, and maror And four children: dull, wicked and bright! Tonight we’ll tell our people’s story

The genut and then the glory And how it came out right. And when we’re through You’ll know you’ve been freed too On this Saaaaay-der night! Tonight, tonight, we’ll drink four cups of wine We’ll laugh and sing and dine ‘till it’s light; The tale’s not new  And yet it still rings true It gives meaning to being a Jew! Egyptian masters they did beat us

But Moses he did lead us From darkness to light. And soon we’ll know

Why G-d did make it so On this Saaaay – der night!

Take Me Out to the Seder

Tune: “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”

Take me out to the Seder Take me out with the crowd Feed me some matzoh and chicken legs I don’t go for the hard-boiled eggs And its root, root, root for Elijah! That he will soon reappear! And let’s hope, hope, hope that we’ll meet Once again, next year! Take me out to the Seder Take me out with the crowd Read the Haggadah And don’t skip a word Please hold your talking

We want to be heard.And let’s root, root, root for the leaderThat he will finish his spiel!So we can nosh, nosh, nosh and by-gosh Let’s eat the meal!!!!

Take Us Out of Egypt

Tune: “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”

Take us out of Egypt Free us from slavery Bake us some matzah in a haste Don’t worry ‘bout flavor, Give no thought to taste. Oh, it’s rush, rush, rush, to the Red Sea If we don’t cross it’s a shame For it’s ten plagues Down and you’re out At the Pesach history game!

Tune: “Yankee Doodle”

Manischewitz goes down smooth, its wonders are no fable About the time “Dayenu” comes, we’re underneath the table. Chorus:

French and Napa wines can’t beat “Manny’s” fruity flavor

Who cares if its 20-proof? It’s just the taste we savor! Matzoh balls can sure slow down the alcohol’s progression, But nothing beats the sweet, rich taste from sugared grape ingestion. ChorusLast year Aunt May asked for port, we found a bit we gave herBut this year it’s Concord Grape – it’s just the taste we savor!Bubbe’s kugel is so great, it sures the worst hangover But we can’t have it with our wine – no chametz on Passover!Chorus:Sometimes we’ll serve chardonnay or vodka as a favor But Extra Heavy Malagaa tonight is what we savor!

ShavuotShavuot means ‘weeks’ and is celebrated seven weeks after Passover. It combines celebration of the grain harvest of the early summer and the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai seven weeks after the exodus from Egypt.
The giving of Torah on Sinai is the seminal event of Jewish religious memory, establishing the covenant between God and Israel.  All night study on Shavuot is a kabbalistic (mystical) custom that is relatively new to Jewish tradition. It is increasingly popular among modern Jews and is meant to help us rededicate ourselves to studying Torah. Kabbalists taught that at midnight on Shavuot the skies open for a brief moment and God favorably hears all prayers.
Dairy items are the food of choice for Shavuot. Many families enjoy blintzes and other dairy foods at dinner.  This is a custom is tied to a description of Israel in as the
“land flowing with milk and honey” in Exodus 3:8. Cheesecake is a widely popular Shavuot item in the United States and is often served for dessert and during late night study sessions. In keeping with tradition the J has decided to host a Shavuot Cheesecake Recipe Contest!  Starting May 8th go to this link and post your favorite recipe. Join US.

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