Let My People Go (He did not let them go)

We began the new calendar year with a new book of the Torah: We are now in Shemot, also known as Exodus. Many of the children are familiar with the story of Moses and Pharaoh from Passover seders they have attended. They were surprised to discover that the Torah portion from last week ended in a cliffhanger: the Egyptians had just suffered the plague of hail (and fire!), and Pharaoh was about to let the people go. But then Pharaoh changed his mind again, and said the people had to stay in Egypt.

We have been discussing some of the themes that this part of the Torah raises: what does it mean to be a responsible person? How can we take care of each other? How can we stand up to injustice? These are big topics, but even our smallest children are interested in discussing them.

One way that we took care of each other this week was for the students from kindergarten through fifth grade to work together to create tactile aleph-bet letters that the youngest students can use to learn their aleph-bet. The oldest students helped to guide the younger ones, and they all worked together to create a helpful learning tool.

Our oldest students spent their time with Cantor Ellen, in deeper discussion of the portion. They wrote, and shared, a skit showing how we still need persistence in order to successfully meet our goals when we approach people in power. The end of their skit made it to the successful conclusion, just as those of us who are familiar with the Passover story know Moses will (eventually) succeed against Pharaoh.

Coming up:

Friday Masa, 4:00-6:00

New times: Stories with Rabbi Brent will begin at 4:30; Adult learning with Rabbi Brent will begin at 5:00. Cantor Ellen and our oldest students will greet the children who come for Stories with the Rabbi, and sing some songs before Mini Minyan.
Mini Minyan at 5:30, Kiddush and Potluck at 6:00. Bina service at 7:00

Sunday Masa, 9:30-12:30.

This week's journal topic: In this week’s Torah portion, Pharaoh keeps on being stubborn and refusing to let all of the people go. But Moses was also stubborn! He made sure that all of the Hebrew people got to go free. All of the Egyptian people were punished because of what Pharaoh did. All of the Hebrew people were rewarded because of what Moses did.

When is it bad to be stubborn? When is it good to be stubborn?