How can we experience a moment in time as holy? Do they just happen, or do we get to make them? For our fourth and final curriculum unit of this school year, we’re digging into chapter three of Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) to unpack the framework Jewish tradition provides to cultivate holy and meaningful moments.
“Every time and every thing has a season and a moment set for it under the sun” (Kohelet 3:1). To explore this first verse of our text, each class spent an afternoon zipping through important moments from every season of the year. In each season, we sang to all the kids who had a birthday in that season, and ended with some part of a Shabbat ritual. Here are some examples of the other season-specific activities we did:
- Played limbo music and did the limbo.
- Played a round of “I’m going to the beach and I’m bringing…” where each item we brought had to start with the first letter of our names.
- Built sand castles and beach scenes out of kinetic sand.
- Listened to a recording of a shofar blowing to remind us of Rosh Hashanah.
- Painted what colors you see in fall.
- Danced like falling leaves.
- Practiced tashlich by writing down mistakes we’ve made or things we want to apologize for and washing them away in a pitcher of water.
- Lit Chanukah candles and sang the brachot (blessings).
- Saw how long it takes ice to melt into water.
- Counted down to the New Year with a video of the ball dropping in Times Square.
- Remembered the Purim story and “boo”ed to Haman’s name.
- Recited the Mah Nishtanah.
- Watched a time-lapse video of flowers blooming.
What was it like to go through all the seasons? How did it feel to rush through them so quickly?
- It was very silly because usually we don’t go through the seasons so quickly or make pretend beaches.
- It was fun because it’s fun to go through all the seasons with different materials and stuff.
- I like that we got to get to all of our birthdays really quickly.
- Sad because the seasons are much shorter.
- Happy because I am older now, older faster.
- There is no time, you can’t do all the fun stuff in each season.
- We missed out on a lot of the joys of each season.
- We moved on so fast it felt like we missed out on life.
- I don’t like transitions at all, and I don’t like fast transitions.
- I like to keep things the way they are, I don’t like change, so I didn’t like this at all. Like when furniture in my house is rearranged and I bump into stuff, I hate it.
How do you usually transition from one season to the next?
- Change the clothes you wear.
- Notice that the time the sun sets changes and the lengths of days changes.
- Realize that it feels weird to leave the playground when it’s so bright out still because I’m still used to the sun setting earlier.
Do you feel like between seasons is a natural time for transition, or would it be better to mark the year in another way?
- We should mark it by the moon cycle, because that never changes.
- We should mark it by months instead of seasons because weather and seasons can start at different times but the months always stay the same.
- We should mark it by weeks because they’re shorter amounts of time.
Kohelet invites us to ask some big questions about who we are, what we’re doing, and why. We’re looking forward to exploring these questions and the ways staying present and marking time as holy can help us navigate them. Join us on our journey!