The video comes from a site called www.G-dcast.com, which is full of short, thoughtful and cleverly produced animated videos about the Jewish holidays, the weekly parashot (portions) of the Torah, and other Jewish texts and folklore! The videos are narrated by a wide spectrum of Jewish voices representing "every movement of Judaism, including the secular one."
I encourage you to check out this site with your kids. On each page, you will also find a box with discussion questions, called "Table Talk." These are great prompts to start a Jewish conversation with your family at the dinner table, or anytime!
This past Sunday, our class engaged in a truly vibrant and insightful study session about the opening chapters of B'reishit/Genesis--the first book of the Torah.
Last week, following our celebration of Simhat Torah and the beginning of a new cycle of reading the Torah, we watched a short, but engaging and thought-provoking video about B'reishit. The video addresses the description in the Torah of the 6 days of creation--specifically, pointing to some aspects of the narrative that don't quite make sense. This was a great way to remind the class that we Jews are not content, and have never been content, to passively read the Torah and simply accept a literal reading of the text. From the very opening words of the Torah to the last, we are invited and encouraged to read actively--to think, scrutinize, question, re-read, reflect, analyze, and question some more! This is why it is said that "a person may study Torah all their life and never plumb its depths!"
After discussing the video, I assigned each student the task of coming up with a question of their own about B'reishit, and promised that we would hold our own Torah study session. So, yesterday, that's what we did! Equipped with a list of good questions, we joined together in a penetrating discussion of some very fundamental ideas. Here are some of the questions that were asked and discussed:
Why did God want a day of rest?
Why didn't God create all the animals on the same day?
How can it be that God created light on the first day, but the sun, stars and moon were not created until the fourth day?
Why did God create the animals of the sky and water before the animals of the land?
Why didn't God say "ki tov" ("it is good") on the second day?
Needless to say, these were some challenging questions which led in all sorts of interesting directions! The kids stayed focused and engaged in this discussion for more than half and hour, and were still asking new questions when we had to end the discussion!
I am looking forward to more such sessions, and will definitely be using the G-dcast site as a starting point. So, I'd love it if you would watch the videos and continue the conversation at home!