Increasing Light in Kislev

It is now the 6th day of Kislev, and our days continue to get darker even as the moon of this new month grows. Within this Hebrew month (on the 25th), we will arrive at Chanukah!

It is now the 6th day of Kislev, and our days continue to get darker even as the moon of this new month grows. Within this Hebrew month (on the 25th), we will arrive at Chanukah!

This time of year also means that we are knee-deep in the stories of our ancestors Jacob, Rachel, and Leah -- this week through Parashat Vayeitzei.

It also just so happens that our Moadon Yeladim classes (of elementary school students in our after-school program) have spent the last six weeks learning about Jacob/Yaakov! At Moadon, doing deep dives into the lives of important figures from Jewish history is a way to make the stories of our ancestors come off the page, so that kids can form their own relationships with Jewish tradition.

In this unit on Jacob, the students have been reflecting on a variety of themes, including favoritism and complex family dynamics, the significance of dreams and of names, and Jacob's encounter with messengers/angels of God. They have also wrestled with his trickery, and considered the broader question of how we can reconcile actions of our ancestors that feel upsetting to us.

All in all, the study of Jacob has provided our students with the chance to think about themselves in relation to their families, both immediate and extended. (In looking at a family tree from Bereishit/Genesis, one 3rd grader gasped and remarked "Whoa... that means we are all related!")

As we continue moving through this dark time of year, may the light and joy of our kids' learning and self-discovery propel us forward, towards the season of increasing light.