Creating B’samim (aromatic spices)
The secret sauce of teaching T’fillot (prayer) to tired 4th graders at the end of the day is tapping into their creative juices. Our 4th graders are an incredibly talented and sentimental group of students.
Last week, we were inspired by the 5th grade TEVA theme to “Renew and Re-purpose” whenever possible. With this heightened sense of environmental consciousness, 4th graders poked dozens of cloves into 4 leftover etrogim (plural for one etrog, the citrus fruit used during the holiday of Sukkot) . They created their own B’samim (a mixture of aromatic spices) to be used during our Monday Havdalah service. The Havdalah service marks the end of Shabbat and sets a joyous tone to begin a new week. Some Rabbis say that the items used in Havdalah — the special braided candle, aromatic spices and wine (or grape juice) — are used to awaken our senses of smell, taste and sight in preparation for the week ahead. Our students were very proud to share these little sweet smelling and prickly creations with the rest of the school.
This week, 4th graders were introduced to an important tool used by Jews, the Mizrach (lit. means east). A Mizrach is a decorative sign that marks the direction of Jerusalem, which is east (for us). Jews traditionally face east/toward Jerusalem when they are praying. After seeing many examples of Mizrachim (plural), we used a compass to find the eastern wall in our classroom. Once that had been established, we went and checked the architecture of our chapel and Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is an amazing space. If you stand in the center of the room directly under the dome, the echo is amazing. Of course, we spent some time enjoying this architectural wonder when something unexpected happen. Some of our students remembered a sweet memory of Mrs. White, our beloved retired Librarian hosting “Tea Time” in a special spot above the Torah ark, where the organ is played. It was a great sentimental adventure to find this special spot then back to the classroom to immediately begin designing their own Mizrach.
Let’s call these photos- Day 1 of Project Mizrach