Tuesday, March 15, 2016

If Davis 4th Graders Were in Charge of Judaism

Last Friday we had our annual 4th grade family Shabbat. 4th graders, their families, and guests gathered to view the "reimagined/reinvented" Shabbat ritual projects as well as join together for a Kabbalat Shabbat service led by the students.

I was there, helping to coordinate the project sharing as well as the Shabbat service. As I surveyed the projects and listened to the beautiful original writings that each 4th grader shared during the service, I found myself wondering what Judaism would "look like" if Davis 4th graders were "in charge." The pictures below, along with the students' writing paint a compelling picture I think. The projects exude a playful and yet respectful energy and the writings show the tremendous depth of thought, feeling, spirit, and expression that these kids can achieve even at a young age.

Typing now, I realize that the question of what Judaism would look like if Davis 4th graders were in charge isn't quite as whimsical as I initially thought. Eventually, they will be in charge. Currently, the prospects for the Jewish future look good to me.

And here are there original writings:

Jake Martin: Welcome
Welcome parents and families to our Fourth Grade Kabbalat Shabbat.
Thank you so much for coming to celebrate Shabbat with us tonight.
We are very happy to have you all with us.
For me, the meaning of Shabbat is being with your family and friends and also praying to God.
I hope you all enjoy our service.  

Daniel Katz: Kehillah
Kehillah is family.
Kehillah is friends.
Kehillah is you.
Kehillah is others.
Kehillah is when you help.
Kehillah is God.

Jack Tolk: Kehillah
Kehillah is when we bring our friends together.
Kehillah is when we play, or sing, or pray together.
Kehillah means community.
Community rocks.
Davis is a big community.
Which means that Davis rocks!

Alyssa Gershon- Palma: Light
Light is holy.
Light is sacred.
Light brings help.
Light was one of the first creations.
Light sometimes brings miracles.

Emily Hoff: Light
Light my way. Shine, show, light.
No more dark in life.
Wisdom, hope.
Help me make the world a better place.

Justin Miller: Light
When it is light outside, the world is happy.
When the light bulb goes off in my head, I’m thinking.
When it is light outside people know what they are doing.
When the Hanukkiah is lit, it reminds me of back then.
Light makes the world joyful.
Light helps us see how to do good and not evil.
Light helps us see hope.

Zoe Richmond: Beauty
You are beauty.
Even if you look different your beauty is there.
You might just not know it.
Your beauty is on the outside and inside.
Your beauty is in your heart.
So believe in yourself.
You have beauty.

Allison Slutzky: Beauty
Beauty is the kindness in someone’s heart.
What people think of you and what you think of yourself.
To give love and care.
Beauty is in everyone’s heart.
Anyone can be beautiful.

Aidan Kramer: Beauty
Sleeping in my bed at night.
Playing with friends.
Hanging out with family.

Isabelle Goldstein: Beauty
Beauty is nature.
Beauty is your family.
Beauty is The Davis Academy.
Beauty is your best friend.
Beauty is life.
Beauty is not caring how someone looks on the outside.
Everyone has beauty even if you don’t think you can see it.
Take time to see the beauty in everyone.

Avi Frank: Beauty
Is the truth in yourself.
The light that wakes us and the dark that puts us to sleep.
Beauty is being there to lend a hand to a friend.
Beauty is the land we cherish and live on,
And the reason we love this earth.
Beauty is every one of us being a Kehillah
And listening to the wisdom that’s being passed down from the wise.

Cory Isaacs: Gifts
My parents are gifts.
My brother is a gift.
My dog is a gift.
Everyone we love and everything we have is a gift.

Jack Rifkin: Gifts
Gifts are not your gadgets.
Gifts are things like nature,
You and your family,
Being blessed by God.
A gift is the world coming together as one.

Vivian Kohn: Gifts
Giving to the poor.
Interacting with people.
Freedom to do as we please.
The family and friends you have.

Avery Lipman: Gifts
A gift: when you dedicate your time.
A gift: when you donate.
A gift: someone who makes you smile.
A gift: something you were born to do.
A gift: not about the money.
It is the thought that counts.

Bradley Amato: Gifts
Thank you God for my house.
Thank you God for my family.
Thank you God for my shelter.
Thank you God for my friends.
Thank you God for animals.
Thank you God for me.
Praise you God.

Joshua Israel: Listen
Listen to the birds chirping a blessing.
Listen with your ears.
Listen with your eyes.
Listen like nature surrounds you.
Listen like Abraham did to God.
Listen like the wind is howling right at you.
Listen to laughter.

Ari Levy: Shema
Listen to the birds chirping.
Listen to the nice morning breeze.
Listen to a prayer.
Listen to the clatter of rocks.
Listen to the clatter of pencils
Against the clipboard.
Listen to your God.

Sydney Gold: Shema
Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu
Oh God, listen to my prayers
I will sing you a song, Adonai
Shema- Listen
Yisrael- Israel
Adonai- Our God
Listen to all my prayers.
I say them for a reason.
Listen to my prayers for my cousin who has a disability.
Listen to my prayers that everyone will be healthy and happy.
Listen to the fire trucks and police cars at work.
Listen to the guitar strum a tune.
Listen to the birds chirping a message.
Listen to the fighting people working to keep us safe.
Listen to my pencil writing.
Listen to my words.
Listen to Shabbat coming.

Zach Rubin: Listen
If you are silent,
You may hear people talking.
You may listen to the birds chirping,
Or you may not hear anything
But the breeze blowing.

Frankie Silverman: Ready
Ready is the
Rain coming down
The place you need to go
The clouds in the sky
The Jewish Star on your synagogue.
The feeling of ready is
When you are ready to go
Everywhere and anywhere.
Ready has lots of meanings as you see.
You have been ready, just like me.

Hope Mishkoff: Ready
I’m ready today
Oh I’m ready today
I’m ready to make the world a better place,
I’m ready to see the smiles on everyone’s face,
I’m ready to paint a rainbow in the sky,
I’m ready, oh I’m ready
But there’s no need to ask why.

Rachel Rusnak: Ready
The word “ready” can mean so many different things.
Ready is the word you say before the leap of faith.
Ready is the fear in your voice when you go down a rollercoaster.
Ready is the love in your voice before you leave.
I’m sure that everybody is ready at some point in their life.
Are you ready?

Mallory Rosen: Love
Love is what everyone can share together,
It’s when a heart communicates or opens up to another person,
When you can express how you feel.
Kindness, sharing, friends
This is what makes love so special.
Living life.
Over again.
Violins playing for,
Each and every one of us.

Shayna Edelman: Love
You can love a pair of shoes
Or a pretty shirt.
But the most important kind of love is,
Loving friends and family.
Love is in everyone.

Jordan Frank: Love
Love is the world.
Love is kindness.
Love is friendship.
Love is you and everybody else.
Love is the sounds of animals.
Love is small.
Love is big.
Love can be anything you want it to be.

Nolan Tuck: Love
Love is the world.
Love is everything.
Love spreads.
Love is what makes us alive.
Love is what makes everything alive.
Love is spreading and it won’t stop.
We create love and,
Love is what makes the whole world beautiful.

Reid Kaplan: Freedom
Freedom is important.
Freedom is like when Moses
Led our people out of Egypt
To the Promised Land
Of family, friends, fun, and most of all
Baruch Atah Adonai.
May this world be full of freedom.

Ryan Frank: Freedom
I feel freedom when the wind blows.
I see freedom when a puppy get adopted from the humane society.
I smell freedom when I smell the moist air outside.
I experience freedom when I’m in nature.
I don’t have to be set free out of a cage to be free
I just find it around me.

 Emily Cohen: Shalom
Shalom means:
Peace, hello, and goodbye
Shalom is all around you
It is in everything and everyone around you
You just have to find it
Out there

Jake Miller: Shalom
Shalom is when countries sign a peace treaty.
Shalom is when you say “hi” even if you don’t feel comfortable.
Shalom happens when everybody loves each other and has a great time.
Shalom is all the goodness that everybody has inside them.

Pressley Rogers: Shalom
Shalom is
Shalom is peace
Shalom is possible
Shalom is nature
Shalom is welcome
Shalom is family
Shalom is pets
Shalom is the world
Shalom is possible

Renee Vaysman: Shalom
Peace is quiet.
Peace is when people care about you.
Peace is when a hear opens.
Peace is family, friends, and your loved ones.
Peace is your teachers.
And peace is so much more.

Ross Bernath: Shalom
Shalom. Shalom is attending funerals.
Shalom is helping others.
Shalom is being kind to your friends.
Shalom is enjoying the moment while it lasts.
Shalom is doing the right thing even if no one is watching.
Shalom is on the inside.

Talan Bens: The Prayer of My Heart
In my heart there is love
And there is everything in the world.
In my heart there is family.
In my heart there is love for my mom, dad, Ashtyn, and Bailey.
In my heart I love myself.
In my heart I love everybody and everything.

Ava Galison: The Prayer of My Heart
A prayer in my heart can be happy or sad
Turning my thoughts and feelings into words
And these words into songs.
A prayer from my heart is meaningful.
The most meaningful because it is true.
And it is in my heart.

Ryan Reiss: The Prayer of My Heart
This is the sound of your heart.
While scientists have proven that this is what keeps you alive,
The heart does many more things.
The heart is where your prayers come from.
It makes you feel empathy for someone when they aren’t having a good day.
It makes you want to help the world in any way you can.
When something tragic happens,
The heart gives you hope,
And lets you believe that things will turn around.
If I had to pick one part of the body to represent God,
It would be the heart.

Harrison Green: The Prayer of My Heart
Every day I look
Up at the sky
I see clouds forming
Shapes and the birds
Racing by
I see ancient
Words and I
See ancient prayers
But they are not in
Words for they
Are up there.
I see peace,
Shalom, and many
Other things.
One time I think
I even saw a
Pair of eagle
The prayer from
My heart is
Not what I
It is how I see how I do
And how I act every day

Nessa Stukalsky: Remember
Remember the time we were slaves
Remember the loved one who is in our hearts
Remember the spark that make you: you
Remember the good times but don’t forget the bad
Remember that you can do anything you believe in
Remember you shine!

Brenna Mittleman: Remember
Remembering is love.
Remembering is kindness.
Remembering is peace.
Remembering is the world.
You should remember a lot of things.
Remember, remember.
Remember your school.
Remember your family.
Remember, remember.

Lizzie McGrath: Remember
Remember every moment of your life.
Remember memories, good or bad.
Remember what you need in life.
Remember your friends.
Remember your family.
Remember the important things in life.
Remember that we are a Kehillah.
Remember God.
Remember the holy sound that comes when we stand together as one.

Ava Satisky: Remember
Really take in life
Everyone has it
Make times like this and share it
Especially love
Marvelously sing
Be surrounded
Exit happily

Benjamin Rosenberg: Remember
Remember that the Jews were slaves in Egypt.
Remember the hearts of your grandparents.
Remember all of your teachers.
Remember the people willing to step up and go to war to protect us.
Remember God.

Grace Wolf: Remember
The laughter
Not the sadness
Remember the flips that
They taught you
Or how to glide on ice
Skates. Remember the songs
That they sang in the car when you were
Them and never let them

Morgan Miller: Joy
Joy is happiness
Joy shows your innermost feelings
Joy brings peace to the world
Joy is a wonderful emotion
Joy want to happen to you
It is waiting to fill someone’s heart
Joy is the most important feeling
Joy is God
Joy is happiness.

Logan Katz: Joy
We can make
Lots of joy in
The world either
By making new
Friends or even
By helping out
With a little
Chore to add
Joy to your
Life and other
People’s lives. I
Can add joy
To your life
And you can
Add joy to
My life.

Rachel Denneen: Oneg
Oneg is family
Oneg is friends
Oneg makes laughter
The joy never ends
Oneg can make
Great memories
Oneg is God
And oneg is me

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