Cycles Of Our Jewish Lives
During last evening’s Grade 7 class at Holy Blossom Temple – and in anticipation of next week’s field trip to Benjamin’s Funeral Home – students explored matters pertaining to death, burial and mourning in the Jewish tradition. We discussed the Hebrew terms that pertain to this process. We talked about why attending to those who have died represents – in our Jewish view of the world – the foremost act of kindness. To aid our learning, Rabbi Tepper brought to class Rabbi Maurice Lamm’s definitive text, The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning, his Rabbi’s Manual [‘madrich‘ meaning ‘guide’] for life cycle events, and a special booklet on Jewish Burial and Mourning Customs prepared by his former congregation in Chattanooga, TN.
In the second half of our evening students learned of other life cycle events associated with Jewish living: B’rit Milah [ritual circumcision and naming], B’rit Bat/Simhat Bat [naming for an infant girl], Consecration [celebrating the start of Jewish learning], Bat and Bar Mitzvah, Confirmation, Marriage, Funeral, Unveiling of the headstone/memorial and – as suggested by Rabbi Tepper – the affixing of a mezuzah to the doorpost[s] of one’s home and workplace.
For the final twenty minutes of the evening, the students completed work on the beautiful ‘yad‘ or ‘pointer’ each will use to chant Torah on her/her Bat/Bar Mitzvah day.
All in all – a very informative and fulfilling evening of Jewish learning!