May 25, 2012
4 Sivan 5772
Dear Nevonim Parents,
Wow! What a full and rich week of Shavuot learning we have had. We talked all week about getting the Torah, eating first fruits, the sweetness of the land of milk and honey and the book of Ruth. On Tuesday, we had the wonderful treat of Rabbi Kelman, who is a sofer (scribe), coming into the kitah and teaching the children all about how a sofer works. In honor of Shavuot, he unrolled the Torah and showed us how the words are written and arranged so we could tell where one book ended and one began. We also looked for shins, with tagim (crowns) on them. He let us touch parchment and we learned that the sofer writes on the rough side, not the smooth, and if even if there are imperfections in the coloring, it is still kosher. He showed us the quills that he makes from turkey feathers. He also showed us how scribes used to use bamboo reeds since turkeys were not indigenous. He explained how he writes not only Torah scrolls, but klafim for mezuzot and for tefillin as well as megillot. Also interesting was the fact that a sofer can't write from memory - to stay focused he must look at any text he is copying carefully. If he makes a small mistake, the ink can be scraped off with a knife. The highlight of his visit was when he wrote each child' name in Hebrew on a miniature scroll - the children then added their own scribal arts to these scrolls. Notice the crowns that appear only on certain letters.
We were so busy with Rabbi Kelman that we had to send Melita away without singing with her! That same day Nora came to read to us since the library is now closed. On Wednesday in the afternoon we learned more about Shavuot with Lesley as she told us a story while we stretched.
On Wednesday, we had our second visit to Urban Adamah. Thank you to all the parents who drove and chaperoned. In small groups we made butter (since dairy is part of Shavuot tradition), we transplanted the sunflower sprouts that we had planted as seeds last time directly into the ground (adamah), and we picked bouquets for Shavuot - we included wheat for the counting of the Omer, as well as curly mustard flowers, arugula flowers and edible nasturtium. We learned from Adiel's abba that another reason we eat dairy is because dairy was extremely important since the laws of kashrut regarding meat were challenging, We also learned that the Torah is sweet like milk and honey and we celebrate the joy we have from studying it. At Urban Adamah we happened to be there the day that food is given to the needy - so we got to see tzedakah in action. Next week, we will count our own tzedakah money and decide where to donate it - as always, we value any parent's input if you an idea to contribute.
On Thursday, we made borekas for Shavuot - we made both matok (sweet) and maluach (salty) since cheese can be either! They were a big hit as was the cheese filled challah we made for snack today. We also were inspired to create watecolor paintings of fruit and wheat as we enjoyed having these around the kitah. And of course, we had pajama day today and talked about the excitement of staying up all night to study!
Today we had a new substitute teacher, Mike, help us in the kitah, so we had fun translating the Hebrew we take for granted that we use all the time, and explaining the meaning of the tefillot that we say daily - Modeh Ani, Elohai N'Shama, Mah Tovhu, the Shema and the berachot. It was nice to see how much the children know!We hope you have a Shabbat Shalom and a Chag Sameach!
See you on Tuesday,
Caitlin, Ruth and Shirlee