Seventh grade is working hard to finish up Sefer Shmuel Aleph (Samuel I) – so far, they have seen the rise and fall of the first king, Saul, and they are tracking the progress of David, who we know is the future king of Israel. In order to capture the drama and paranoia and betrayal of this story, they were divided into groups and created fun movie trailers which demonstrate just how dramatic and crazy this story is – it could easily be made into a fast-paced action movie!
We have also started a new unit for Passover, and this unit focuses on Passover throughout the different time periods of Judaism, and the rituals we use to mark this important event. We begin by looking at the very first Passover in Egypt and the sacrificial lamb which was the center of the ritual along with matzah and bitter herbs. We also look at how the story itself was described in the Torah – what the Torah says God did for the Israelites and why this means we celebrate Passover for all time. We then transition to seeing how Passover was celebrated in the time of the Beit HaMikdash – holy Temple – where it was still centered around the idea of the animal sacrifice, but now we see different conversations by rabbis being written down and recorded in the Mishna. We then see how many of these conversations appear in our Haggadah today, and how our Seder is really about reliving the experience of the redemption from Egypt. Since we no longer have animal sacrifice in a central Temple, our rituals needed to evolve to meet the needs of the changing community. They will then be charged with the task of creating an entirely new ritual which helps us understand the evolution of Passover commemoration – hopefully this will be something both fun and meaningful you can add to your seder at home!