"Haose shalom bimromav
hu yaase shalom alenu
ve al kol Israel
ve imru ,imru amen"
"The one who makes peace in his heavens
he will bring peace upon us
and on all of Israel
so say, say Amen! "
(From the Jewish prayer book- said on Friday nights starting the jewish Shabbath)
This prayer ended the Siddur fest- the celebration of the book at my small son's kindergarden.
We had gathered this morning at 10:00 o'clock to celebrate 2 years of learning to read Hebrew.The goal had been to be able to read the prayer book and to be prepared to continue to learn in school.
Not every child will continue to a religious Jewish school so that way the children have the ability to at least read and follow the prayers that are in Hebrew in the tradtional synagogues anyway..
My small son was given the role of saying the blessing on the wine but he gave it to another child, he was too shy, he told me.
Every boy and girl got to read in the prayer book a line in Hebrew and the theme was :the Shabbath. day.
First the girls were gathered under the canopy of a large prayer shawl held by the reading teachers and the Rabbi of the congregation placed his hands upon their heads and said a prayer , "may G-d bless you and may you be like our mothers;Sara, Rivka, Lea and Rachel", then it was the boys' turn to gather under the canopy and receive the blessing that is traditionally given by the father of the family to the children every Friday night,
"May G-d bless you and may you be like our fathers; Abraham, Itzchak ve Yaakov"
Afterwards the children going to school next year received their prayer books from the Rabbi of the congregation .The covers of the prayer books had been decorated with a mandela and has their names on it ..
The Rabbi posed for a minute as the parents took photos, videos, flash lights going off one after another..grandparents, parents all looked for a good angel and :presto!
Shiloh posed too for my slow photo camera (i am saving up for a new one for when school begins after the summer holidays and for the first day in school)
"Sorry, rabbi", i apologized, "my camera is a bit slow", and there i had it, Shiloh receiving the prayer book continuing the unbroken chain of learning starting from Moses who handed the Torah over to the next generation and the next...until today.
My maternal grandfather (may he rest in peace) was a religious man who had gone to a Yeshiva, (A plce of higher religious studies) Shiloh looks so much like him!
The same round face and twinkeling blue eyes , a bit shy and modest and when he smiles you can see his dimple that he got from the family Blaauw..(papa)
My father's side had an unbroken chain of 42 Rabbis in the Ukraine area till his great grandfather who had reached his own conclusions and decided that jews belong back in their homeland working the land , he came to Israel in 1881 , then Palestine, and bought some swamp land called "Petach Tikwa" (the opening of hope in Hebrew)dried the swamps and farmed the land.It is now a small town in the center of Israel.
An Orthodox Rabbi i consulted a few years ago as my marriage had deteriorated , had told me that all the generations of my family are in heaven looking down and watching me..that felt a bit strange at the time he said that, now i felt it though,...I felt all the generations of Jews who had had to fight to keep their identities , to survive pogroms where they and their children would be murdered, persecuted and forced from one exile to the next, i felt that all those 42 Rabbis were standing there , watching my small son receive his prayer book and read his small prayer:
"Baruch sheamar, ve haya olam..Baruch ose Bereshit...Baruch gozer vemekayem"
"Blessed be the one that had said:and let there be a world..blessed creator of genesis..blessed the decision maker and the one to fulfill it"
(my own translation, a bit lame, sorry)
I am not a standard religious person, i do not usually believe in repeating holy words, or practicing most of the rules but i keep a few..i do the Shabbat in my own way and struggle with ideas and actions but i can not help but be touched by this religious ceremony..
My own mother was brought up religious and has since having left home has been against any religious studies , telling me she thinks it is better to remain open minded ..she resented all the rules she had grown up with ,however i see how the children enjoy the rituals ,even dressing up in white shirts and blue pants, being part of a community and feeling there is something greater than us all..i think we all need to feed our souls sometimes spiritual food and there are many ways ,tastes and menus.
Today my soul had been fed ,my small son too..his father took time off and came to see his small son read from the prayer book, as a teacher he was impressed with the enthusiasm of the 6 year olds and the ceremony..he is not Jewish and was raised Protestant Christian however i think though at times he finds Jewish ceremonies alienating ,he seeme to enjoy seeing his son grow and develope and be part of a warm community that cares about him and feeds his soul and mind with good thoughts about the world .
We almost had an argument on the way out , we know why we are separated and it is not because of religious reasons, it is because of a lack of good communication and not having fed our relationship good wholesome caring food, a lack of respect and appreciation.
So Feed your souls today, connect to some source that is beyond and be blessed with peace on your journey ..
From one proud mom :
peace and Shalom,
P.S. i will try to get the photos online,
meanwhile a question to you .
In how many languages can you say Peace?
Please add to the list!
mine is : Peace, saalam (arabic)shalom (hebrew) paix(french) ....