בַּסִּפְרִיָּה In the Library 11/3

The story of Noah (and Naamah) and the Ark is simply MADE for children — all those animals and a funny boat bobbing in the water like a toy in a bathtub. Then comes the beautiful rainbow — a happy ending! 

Well, the story is actually much more serious — God drowning, without mercy, anything and everything that moves except for one man, his family, and 2 of every animal. God’s painful recognition that people too easily gravitate toward evil unless there are laws to reign them in. 

Of course, all the young kids see are the animals and the ark. I really played into the Kindergarteners’ higher instincts by reading them the hit of the year — Where’s the Potty on this Ark? by Kerry Olitzky. It actually talks about eating right and being healthy, but still…potties.

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For the 1st/2nd graders, I read just a few pages of a unique chapter book about penguins sneaking onto the ark called Meet at the Ark at Eight by Ulich Hub. Penguins having a philosophical discussion about God? You heard that right, and it gets even goofier. The kids couldn’t wait to check it out.

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For the 5th-7th graders, I introduced them to the Noahide Laws. https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/the-noahide-laws/. These basic 7 laws for all of humanity (as opposed to the 613 for Jews) are not exactly found in the Torah, but extrapolated by the Talmudic rabbis. There was a lot of great back and forth as we discussed the difference between p’shat and d’rash exegesis in the formation of the Talmud https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/the-formation-of-the-oral-torah/

Finally, I mentioned the work of the great Moses ben Maimon (also called Maimonides) who managed to synthesize the entire talmud into a readable outline in the Mishneh Torah. We have many of his works in the Library, as well as a fantastic short biography — https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51XVYKny61L._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

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