Hey, Teach

Lughnasa                                                                      Waning Summer Moon

maybe not quite like this

maybe not quite like this

Tanya. Carla. Kenya. Mom. Mary. Mark. Grandma Ellis. Jean. Others whose names I can’t remember. Teachers. All of them. Now, for one night, me. Well, I’ve taught adults in various formats over the years, but never kids. Last night I sat down with 13 kids, 6th and 7th graders, and talked with them about what makes them anxious or worried about their bar or bat mitzvah. “Falling off the chair. I watch a lot of fail videos.” “Chanting the Torah and my voice cracking.” “Having to give a speech.” “Being the center of attention.” “I can’t afford the outfit.”

It was a sweet moment and I got so into listening to them that I forgot the beach ball toss game we were supposed to do. We went from that question to what Jewish values do you want to express at your b’nai mitzvah? What values do both you and your parents share and want to express? “Being a good host.” “Honoring my friends.” “Honoring my family.” “Learning the Jewish tradition and passing it on.” “Throwing a good party.” “Learning Hebrew.”

fiddlerontheroofIt was the kickoff event last night for the religious school and it was well attended. Each kid came with one or both parents. Usual glitches. Somebody forgot to order food. Solution: Dominoes. I forgot the beachballs. Solution: listen. Facilitation was by committee. Alan did the introduction. Jen Kraft, the regional person from Moving Traditions, spoke about the development of the curriculum. Jamie facilitated a piece about what the sages thought was appropriate for ages from 5 to 100. Tara facilitated a group exercise in which adults and kids called out descriptors for child, teen, adult.

There were some gumups, but on the whole I thought it went well. I dressed up, which always means I’m nervous. Realized last night that I’ve been doing that long enough that wearing fancier clothes make me nervous, rather than more confident. Makes sense. Learned behavior.

21 sessions still ahead. Most of them won’t be this complex. I have a different sort of respect for all you teachers out there. Will have even more, I imagine, as the school year continues.

A Weighted Doll

Lughnasa                                                                   Waning Summer Moon

carnival-gamesOK. NYT article from an anonymous Trump administration official. Saying what we know about Trump, increasing logarithmically the force of Bob Woodward’s Fear, also making the news right now.

Wow. Trump reminds me of those weighted dolls in a carnival game. Hit’em hard with a fast pitch, they fall over, but bounce right back up, ready for the next one.

How, I would say, can he recover from these insider accounts of his tiresome pettiness, his annoying stupidity, his consummate cupidity? I would say that; but, it would ignore the other knock’em down pitches that started during his campaign when, for example, he mocked the disabled reporter, “moved on her like a bitch,” grabbed pussies because he felt his celebrity gave him an invisibility cloak.

He might be so venal, so incompetent, so clueless that no revelation will shock, no critique stick. A very, very strange situation for the person putatively in charge of the world’s most powerful military and what used to be a well respected hegemon. Shakes head, rolls eyes, goes on about his day.