This week’s portion, on the Shabbat before Rosh Hashana is Nitzavim: אַתֶּם נִצָּבִים הַיּוֹם, “On this day, you shall stand.”(Deuteronomy 29:9 – 31:30)
What does it mean to ‘stand up for’ or ‘stand up to someone’? What does it mean to ‘take a stand.’ Learning to trust oneself and stand up for someone, or something you believe to be true, despite the naysayers, takes strength and self-confidence, qualities that we can work on over time.
Seat the students in a circle. Toss a rubber or foam ball between them. As a student catches the ball encourage that student to say one thing that she is good at and something that someone else does well before tossing the ball back to you (this way you can make sure everyone gets a turn). Learning to recognizing the abilities of others is a way to begin standing up for them and to begin building a strong community.
The New Year! A New Moon! A chance to start over.
SPEAK UP! Happy Rosh Hashana
The New Year is a time to imagine changes and challenges. Giving voice to our hopes and dreams are steps toward defining these aspirations. And what is the first step to achieving these goals? Voicing them! Learning to express what we want is the first step, and not an easy one, in moving towards a goal. As Channah says in the Haftorah portion that is read on the Shabbat of Rosh Hashana: וָאֶשְׁפֹּךְ אֶת נַפְשִׁי “I have poured out my soul.”
Parents and teachers help children learn to express desires without selfishness or shame. Suggest that each child come up with three wishes : one for themselves, one for another person and one for everyone. You may be surprised to learn what’s on their minds.
Rosh Hashana is a time to think and to encourage,to reflect about how we can improve our world. Put their important words around the room. Quote them as we quote famous people, as visual reminders for the coming year.
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