I really value humor. It lightens my burdens and makes me smile. I feel guilty pleasure in the claim that Jews dominate this field. I was excited to discover through my more serious study of midot ‘soul traits’, that Joy (simcha) is among them, and, like all our midot, is to be practiced and cultivated in the right measure.
But, what is the right measure? Can a soul trait be quantified? Judaism teaches that we are holy souls, born with the entire range of human characteristics/ “soul traits” in varying degrees that enable us, in the right measure, to make the world a better place (tikkun Olam). And, as holy souls, the midot (patience, anger, gratitude, humility, trust, joy, etc…) are channels through which the soul expresses itself. Part of our soul work then, is to become aware to what degree each of these traits live within us, how that measure is or is not serving us and attend to a better balance.
The self-reflection and introspection might feel burdensome and maybe even extraneous. No doubt it’s an investment of time, intention, intellect and emotion. And in the case of religious school, it is also a financial investment. Here’s a freebie: the word midah, while translated as “soul trait” or character trait, literally means measure. The soul is revealed through these ever changing, living measures of character… experiential learning at its best.
My default is to be joyful, to laugh, to feel happy and I try to be a source of joy for others (most of the time). Sometimes I have to work harder to notice an ecstatic moment, a euphoric (holy) experience and “to be glad and rejoice in it” even when not delivered by way of stand up.
So, I invite you to be glad, rejoice and invest in it. Invest in the traditions, culture and practice, history and Hebrew, the curiosity & compassion in creation (hadar), the humility and inspiration in self-awareness (heshbon hanefesh), and the miracle of the physical world and natural beauty (teva). In a community of learners and lovers of learning our regular Wednesday religious school students will:
- participate in Model Minyan prayer & song with Rabbi Jamie
- explore Jewish identity through music, art and social action
- build language skills through Hebrew Lab
- immerse in Jewish knowledge through Torah study & story
- engage in Tikkun Olam indoors & out
- reflect & refine personal connections with Judaism and each other.
A great sage once said: “Philosophical Tevye , …the star of Fiddler On The Roof, explained that Jews always wear hats because they never know when they will be forced to travel. What he didn’t say, which is probably more important, is that they always made sure to have something under their hats and inside of their heads – because physical possessions could be taken from them, but what they accumulated in their minds would always remain the greatest” merchandise” a Jew possesses.” Mel Brooks J
Register now for Pre k – 7th grade Religious school Wednesdays 4 – 6 pm. Multi -family discounts available.
ALSO back by popular demand: Adult Hebrew, Hitlamdut Happenings Master Class & Saturday specials.
- Adult Hebrew 1st and 3rd Wednesdays, 4:30 – 5:30. Registration ($70.00) includes book fee, family discounts available. See more details here and the calendar here.
- * Adult Hebrew Aleph – This class is geared toward beginner Hebrew learning; letters, vowels & sounds, decoding words and recognizing meaning with emerging Hebrew skills.
- * Adult Hebrew Bet – This class will help to enhance existing Hebrew skills, identify linguistic connections, and read with ease
- Hitlamdut Happenings Master Class: This FREE class is for adults; parents, grandparents and all post b’nei Mitzvah to explore traditions, create rituals, add depth, meaning and joy to life cycles, Sabbath and holidays. Join R. Jamie 2nd Wednesdays 4:30 – 5:30 pm.
AND, join us 2nd Saturdays for ShabbaShare: family Shabbat and creatively communal celebrations 9-10:30 FREE! For all.