Our Holy Names

This week we considered a bit of text from the Amidah (a section of daily prayer.) 

“You are holy, Your Name is holy, and holy ones praise Your name every day…” 

When conceptualizing her connection to this text, one learner shared: “The earth is God’s museum.” Kiddos reflected on what these words mean through discussion, movement, and making. Together, we thought about what it means to consider a name to be holy. We started by exploring what holiness feels like. 

Being Holy Feels…

  • Positive, but you don’t notice it all the time.
  • It feels nice.
  • Something is more than special.
  • It is being with others. 
  • It feels like love.

Then we got into a conversation specifically about names. Kiddos asked great questions “Why would God want us to praise their name?” someone wondered aloud. We considered this. Learners concluded that since we are all connected, sharing praise helps generate holiness and positivity. Then we zoomed in on what makes a name holy.

What makes a name holy? 

  • It’s the leader of your body.
  • Your name is holy because it helps you not lose things, like your name on your paper. 
  • It shows your spirit. 
  • My name is holy because it is different. 

We talked about why someone might want to change their name. 

What makes a nick-name/ chosen name holy? 

  • It’s cool/cooler.
  • It’s your name but shorter, longer, or funnier. 
  • Everyone’s nickname is special and important. 
  • If you love your nickname. 
  • It might represent how you feel about yourself more than your given name. 
  • You might be more connected to it than your given name. 

We also shared the different special things about our own names. 

Something special about my name is… 

  • I got my name from my parents, my Hebrew name means treasure. 
  • I am named after my grandparents. 
  • I was named for my great-uncle. 
  • I am named after my great-grandma. 
  • I am named for my great-aunt. 
  • My name means God listens. 
  • My name means pearl.
  • My name means protection and strong will. 
  • My name is unique, it means love or heart. 
  • My name is important because it means loving people. 

As a group, we unpacked what it means to connect to something bigger. To feel this in our bodies we practiced making beats and using shaker eggs. Kiddos were prompted to do their own thing and then come together and make a beat. 

One student reflected that: “When we did the shaker’s all together, it feels like we’re not alone.” 

We spoke about what it means to praise something and why we might want to praise something or someone. A thoughtful learner explained “praise is to give a compliment, but MORE. It’s something super amazing.” 

How do you connect to something bigger?

  • Appreciate things through gestures. 
  • Looking at it and appreciating it, but if it is a physical thing I will feel it. 
  • It could be through friendship or song.
  • I connect in a variety of ways. 
  • Through prayer. 
  • Actively say what you like or what you are grateful for. 
  • Do what someone likes and respect their needs. 
  • Say thank you.
  • Through movement or gesture like bowing or curtseying.

Watching kiddos realize these concepts during Shulchanot Avodah through still lives of everyday objects, acrostic poems, mad-libs, and more was inspiring. Have a wonderful and restful winter break. We look forward to seeing all of your holy souls in the new year! 

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