Friday, June 3, 2016

Chumash Party

Throughout this year, Raphaela and her classmates have been learning the stories of Genesis in depth.  Her teacher challenges them to think about the emotional implications of the stories as well IE "How do you think Noah felt when the dove didn't return to the Ark?"  "How do you think Adam and Eve felt when they were punished for not listening?"

Today, one month before First Grade officially ends, Raphaela received her official Chumash [Torah], covered in beautiful decorations and marking the time when she will start reading from the text itself; because now she can read in Hebrew all by herself.

This morning, while getting dressed, Raphaela's biggest concern was that her loose tooth would fall out during the performance on stage, in front of all the teachers and the visitors. I assured her that if her tooth dramatically popped out during the show, it would make it all the more enjoyable and memorable.

There was of course another twist to this celebration, grandparents were the honored guests, and having none in the country, Raphaela had to settle with me (boring Mom), and my brother.  Normally during the year, my daughter does not express regret or sadness at being relatively isolated from our family here in Jerusalem, Israel; in the last week we have had several conversations about all the people we love, who live far away.

There was singing and hand movements, speeches and plays, and the bit that always chokes me up, when they spread a giant tallit over all 80 girls and all the parents and grandparents gave them a blessing.

Afterwards, Raphaela's teacher asked me to give a short speech to the class about family and the chain of history that links us all. I was honored, and hope I did Raphaela proud.

All the way home, Raphaela hugged her Chumash like it was gold, and called it her "beautiful and holy book."  May she continue to grow in accomplishments and joy, and may I live a long and healthy life to be able to share in all these moving events.

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