The Jewish people love to ask questions! If you were at Upton Hills pool on Sunday, August 5, you would have learned “What’s Jewish About Swimming?” There were approximately 25 people at the event.
To start the conversation, we turned to a classic Jewish text. The Talmud, in Tractate Kiddushin 29a, enumerates a list of obligations parents have to their children. These include teaching them Torah, helping them find a suitable spouse, and preparing them for future employment. At the end of the list of obligations, Kiddushin 29a states: “And there are some who say that [parents] must also teach [their children] how to swim.”
We asked the children why it would be important to learn how to swim. One said it would be important because it would help you if you had to travel to new places. The Jews are a wandering people and have settled in many new places so this response was right on target. Another child said it was important to know how to swim so you wouldn’t drown.
The adults surmised that the metaphor of swimming means we are obligated to teach our children skills that will allow them to survive independently of our help when the need arises. Our children need to build confidence, physical fitness, and be willing to take risks. Our job as parents is to support and encourage them. In this context, teaching children how to swim is a metaphor for launching them on a successful path to Jewish adulthood.
Although our actual swim time was cut short by heavy rains, we enjoyed our time together learning and building community. We look forward to more “What’s Jewish About . . . ” events over the course of the school year!
Thank you to Alexis Joyce for planning the program and the craft and Naomi Harris and Stacey Viera for helping with publicity.
Upcoming event: What’s Jewish about Bubbies? on November 18, 2018
The Arlington County Fair has lots to do for families, and is great for individuals of all ages, families, neighbors and friends. Bring neighbors and friends over to the Etz Hayim booth to say hello! We especially want to meet local Jewish folks who might be interested in checking out all we have to offer: social programming, worship, social action, preschool, religious school, adult education….etc.
Especially for young children: Our booth will have a Duplo Lego table this year!
Where? Located at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center – indoor exhibit area, Etz Hayim’s booth hours are Friday, August 17, 4-5:30pm and Sunday, August 19, 11am-7pm.
We had a rockin’ and rollin’ good time at our Tu B’Av celebration on July 15! Tu B’Av is the Jewish Day of Love. This event was co-sponsored by PJ Library and included music, crafts, ice cream and a performance by the children’s band “Here Comes Trouble!” Approximately 50 people were in attendance!
Special thanks to Natalie and Rich Roisman for donating the band’s performance. Listen to a special birthday song by the band here: https://youtu.be/csX_ZFd1EHE.
Thank you to Alexis Joyce, Laura Naide, Naomi Harris, Stacey Viera and Edgar Rendon from CEH, Sarah Rabin Spira from PL Library, the band “Here Comes Trouble,” and Natalie and Rich Roisman.
On June 10, 2018, Congregation Etz Hayim proudly participated in Capital Pride 2018 with an information booth and CEH giveaways. We met a wonderful array of individuals and families interested in our welcoming Conservative synagogue, and we made important connections with the local community. The Communications & Membership Committee followed up with each person interested in CEH, and we look forward to welcoming these folks through our doors soon!
Many thanks to Cheryl Whitehead for making this event possible and for doing so much hard work at the Festival! Thanks also to the volunteers who staffed the table: Sophie Whitehead-Thomas & Naomi McQuaid, Naomi Harris, Stacey & Dagny Viera, Alan Savada & Sam Savada-Stevenson.
Be sure to join us for Shabbat services and your Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Board of Directors Installation this Saturday, June 16, 2018.
Mark your calendars now for the 2018 Artist Expo, which will be held at Etz Hayim on Sunday, November 4, 2018. Shop for unique and beautiful artwork, jewelry, sculpture, cards and prints, photography, clothing and more!
All ages are welcome but children under age 13 must be supervised at all times.
On Saturday, January 27, parents and children observed Havdalah together at the synagogue. Although not everyone wore pajamas, we all enjoyed the Havdalah ceremony followed by snacks and crafts. Linking to the spices that we smell during Havdalah, we made scented shea butter hand cream (Shea-Bat Shalom Shea Cream for Tu B’Shea-Vat), assembled besamim (spice) bags, and painted with spices (including dill and curry). The paintings smelled delicious even after the paint dried! Children also enjoyed a light table and a reading area.
Havdalah (Hebrew: הַבְדָּלָה, “separation”) is a Jewish religious ceremony that marks the symbolic end of Sabbath and Jewish holidays, and ushers in the new week. The ritual involves lighting a special havdalah candle with several wicks, blessing a cup of wine and smelling sweet spices. It is a quick and lovely ceremony. Several families at the event said they plan to celebrate Havdalah more often in their homes.
On Sunday, January 28, 2018, the back of the sanctuary was filled with food and friends, noshing and playing board games together. The crowd consisted of several member families as well as an Etz Hayim Preschool family. In between games and grub, grownups enjoyed some relaxed schmoozing while kids invented a complicated game of tag. The Social Action Committee collected $110 in gift cards, as well as several large packages of paper goods benefiting families from Bridges to Independence.
Thank you to Marni Corsaro; Edgar Rendon; and the Waldstein/Kagy, Rosman, and Viera families for making the event possible and to all of the generous people who donated items to Bridges to Independence.