Thus far, we have met weekly for about 2 months. We then took a break for the summer & for the High Holidays.
As someone who is somewhat of a “nerd” in matters of Learning Torah, I may be more critical than others when I say class hasn’t been too exciting or intense yet. We have been focusing mostly on reading Hebrew. Don’t get me wrong, this is very, very important and I definitely need the practice just like everyone else. Our class consists of 22 people, which means we have quite a mix of folks. Mixed ages and mixed levels of reading Hebrew. So maybe I have gotten just a tiny bit bored at times – but only because we have spent far too much time discussing WHY there are two letters that look different but make the same sound and discussions of this nature. We have the same issues in English as well!! But we all learn in different ways so I do not criticize. I am not judging, either, I just, personally, cannot wait to LEARN some Torah! I also tend to get impatient which is something I need to work on. It’s been a long time since I was a student (as I’m sure is the case for many of us in the group!) and it takes some getting used to. The only group involvement I have been a part of lately is Zumba at the gym!
We have been meeting with our Chazzan, who is an absolute treasure. She is a beautiful and soulful person who really moves me in prayer services as well as in casual conversation. Our Rabbi has been in Israel on sabbatical so we have not had classes with him yet. From what I understand, they will be both be leading classes which I really look forward to. They are both people who I admire and respect very much and am happy to have the opportunity to connect with them on a closer level.
We discussed Tallit and Tzitzit, which arose many questions for me. I was probably the only student that didn’t put the tallit (prayer shawl) on that day. I’ve never worn one and just wasn’t ready. We did also discuss some of the major points that will be brought up over the next two years including our relationship with G-d and with Judaism. Big issues, to say the least. I can’t wait. Have I said that already?
So we went through the alphabet and practiced our reading. I felt I was doing okay as far as the Basics but definitely need to continue practicing. I cannot imagine what it feels like to be called to the Bimah and read out of the Torah, I definitely want to take it seriously and make sure I am reading the text properly. What is helping me practice is that I like to daven (pray) in Hebrew. The fact that I need to practice helps motivate me to get my Morning Prayers done in the morning, and I am trying to get some Bedtime Shema in there as well. I am hoping that with time, I can get through the pages quicker (as well as follow along while in shul). We’ve also received some summer reading and assignments while we are not meeting on a weekly basis.
It’s been a nice run so far, slowly getting on the same page and getting to know everyone. I look forward to seeing how our group grows and what kinds of relationships come out of it.
Stay tuned for more on classes!