Shira’s series was inspired by my students throughout the years….
Shabbat in the playroom, for example, was the story of three girls in my kindergarten class, several years ago, who adored our class’ Shabbat weekly ceremony, the Shabbat IMMA אמא and ABBA אבא, sitting in a circle around our class carpet, singing Shabbat songs, reciting the blessings, drinking grape juice and eating challah.
One Monday morning, one of the girl’s mother stopped me at carpool time and told me that the three girls had a play date that past weekend, took turns being “MORAH Galia” מורה גליה, conducted a Shabbat ceremony in the basement, creatively used toys as Shabbat items, cook a Shabbat dinner in the play kitchen and sang blessings and songs. The mother added that she did not hear from the girls for a long time, they were so immerse in their pretend play. When she went down to check on them, she was impressed with the girls knowledge and enthusiasm and had to share with me what she witnessed. I, in turn, was touched and inspired and began telling this story to other students.
RIMON for Shira was the story of a picky eater girl in first grade that came from a family with interfaith parents. Rosh Hashanah was approaching and among other things, I taught the class about the traditional foods of the holiday and cut open a pomegranate in class while constantly referring to it as a RIMON רימון, in Hebrew. Being a very picky eater, this was her first experience with the fruit which she tried and liked. Her mom being non-Jewish, did not make the connection when her child asked her to get her the RIMON fruit that she tried in class and liked so much.
When the mother saw me in the hallway just before Rosh Hashanah, we both laughed so hard when she shared with me she was thrilled to hear that her daughter wanted a special fruit for Rosh Hashanah called a RIMON, and how she looked for it in the supermarket….
On the day after YOM KIPPUR a father of one of the boys in one of my 1st grade classes approached me and told me that during services the day before, he heard his boy singing the aleph bet song we sing at school. When he asked his son why is he singing, the boy told his father the story he heard in class a few days before. The parent was impressed and thankfully shared the experience with me.
Miracle for Shira actually happened to an Israeli student in my 1st grade class, a while ago. She received an Israeli dreidel from a family member, showed it to the class, lost it in the room, but found it shortly after. She did burst with aloud “NES GADOL HAYA PO נס גדול היה פה” and the rest of the students joined with great excitement and jubilation, making the phrase very relevant to what happened with the lost /found dreidel.
These true stories, coupled with a creative spin, just had to be told I am just the vessel that bring them to you, my readers, with love and a sense of mission to educate and inspire.
Thank you, dear students, and parents…. you know how you are!!! (the original Shira!!!)