I had an amazing opportunity tonight to have an insight into some aspect of eduation here in Israel that I normally do not have. My daughters are all out of grammar school (with my YOUNGEST in 9th grade), so it has been a long time since I sat in on a program in grammar school when kids get their first Chumash. In the past, I have indeed attended numerous programs of this nature, all of which were very sweet and meaningful.
A couple of days ago, I was approached by my neighbor, a boy in first grade at the local school (Maale HaTorah for Boys) asking if I would attend his Chumash presentation. I was SO touched at the request as his father was unable to attend due to being out of town and he was asking ME if I could be there with him. Would I!?!? Of course!
The auditorium was filled to capacity with the children all in various costumes and the parents with digital cameras and videos of all shapes and sizes. As I sat there reminiscing about the times my daughters went through this rite of passage and the times I saw other students do this in the schools I had taught in, I wondered how tonight's experience would differ.
Indeed it was quite different: The entire program had various aspects of Kabbalat HaTorah re-enacted; there was dancing on floor with the boys and their dads (or their stand-ins); their was a re-enactment of standing at Har Sinai to get the Torah; there was a re-enactment of Hashem offering the Torah to the other nations of the world after which the Bnei Yisrael accepted it;the boys all stood under Talitot while singing "HaMalach HaGo'el.."; they all read the first few Psukim from Breisheet together when they got their first Chumash; the Chief Rabbi of Maale Adumim (Rav Katz) spoke beautifully to the children and the excitement of the kids was truly palpable.
I am truly honored to have been a part of this evening. Benny: Thank you so much for including me! I will never forget it...