This module aims to bring participants into an exploration of common ground with Haredim
Screen the following photos, one after the other. (Copyright does not allow us to suggest printing them out). Allow each photo to stand for at least 60 seconds.
Ask the participants to write down one aspect of the photo with which they identify, and one aspect that they do not.
Quick sharing after each photo.
- Young Hared at prayer
- A Mitzve Tanz – between Father-in-Law and Bride
- Two kids
- Purim Celebration
- Chassidic Gathering
- Family Wedding
Bringing up the children
Hand out copies of the poem “The Children of the house of Study” by A. Margalit.
A. Margalit is the pseudonym of Pnina Lichtenstein – a well-known and much loved Haredi female poet. Her poems are included in the curriculum at the Haredi Girls’ High school. A. Margalit was a literature teacher at the girls’ Haredi School “Beit Yaakov” for many years and has written curriculum in this subject. She lives today with her family in Jerusalem, she has self-published her book “Small Cloak”. She is in favor of censorship, and much aware of the educational content and values of her poetry and its influence on her mostly female readers.
1. (Have someone) read the poem out loud.
2. Before talking more, add the following: “This is a picture of an ideal childhood through the eyes of a Haredi poet. We’re going to read the poem again, and as you listen, try to imagine in what way does this ideal mesh with your ideals for childhood, in what way does it differ?”
3. Now (have someone) read the poem out loud again.
4. After the second reading, help people work out the references they didn’t catch. (See the list of footnotes immediately following the poem).
5. Have everyone share the image that most struck them.
6. Now return to the original question: To what extent is this an ideal childhood in your eyes?
The Children of the House of Study
By A. Margalit
Translation by Shlomit Naim-Naor
The childhood is walking down the sidewalk
With rosy lips and cheeks
It salutes your existence
As it is carrying a copy of the G`mara (1)
Under its armpit.
The childhood is walking. The feet
Are chasing after a dotted rusted old wheel
Suddenly the wind blows and pushes
And a soft hand gently taps the head
Ensuring the Kippah (2) won’t go with the wind.
The children are back from school
And the air is dotted with beauty marks
It`s dusk and dark the day has passed
But they are still bent over their studies, indeed
The thumb is digging in the air (3).
The childhood walks from here to there
Guard passes guard (4)
Tomorrow`s People of Israel
Marches in a smaller format
Only today its name is Tashbar*.
The childhood walks on the sidewalk
And everyone around is smiling,
Like an angel of innocence and blessing
Following close on the strides in silence.
The children are back from the house of study
In storm thunder and haste,
Before they enter home, on the doorstep,
Fingers placed on the Mezuzah. (5)
And childhood is on tiptoes:
So much taller is the mezuzah.
The lights go off. Tashbar* are going to sleep,
A dream is woven between pupil and eyelid,
A sweet endless dream.
About the starry sky
And about Joseph and his brothers
And about their Bar Mitzvah,
In only six years’ time.
* תינוקות של בית רבן children of the house of study
- G’mara: A book of Talmud study
- Kippa: skullcap
- Traditional studying gesture
- These words have connotations of the army, and of religious observance
- The small box with sacred text inside that rests on the doorframes of Jewish houses. It is tradition to touch it, and then to kiss one’s fingers.