Samain Thanksgiving Moon
I’m at Dino’s on far west Colfax, near Kipling. This is an Italian place that my friend Alan Rubin used to visit when he grew up on west Colfax, further east, into Denver. The old orthodox neighborhood. Much like, I guess, the northside of Minneapolis at about the same time. His dad was a brilliant immigrant who ended up running a string of dry cleaners, doing very well. Dino’s, founded in 1963, hasn’t changed its decor since then, we both guessed. Great pizza.
Kate calls. “SeoAh and I are sick.” OMG. Both had a stomach bug. Something neither one needed, Kate least of all. “Can you come home and take care of the dogs?” Sure. “Alan, this seems to be my life right now.” “That’s because it is your life right now.” I missed packing Thanksgiving dinner boxes at the Jefferson County Action Center, something Kate and I did last year. This time though Alan and mines religious school class was there.
Alan and I went at Dino’s, close to the Action Center, to plan for next week’s class. We’ll be using a wonderful graphic rendition of the Pirkei Avot, the Ethics of the Fathers*. Each student will pair up with another and we’ll give them a copied page. They’ll help each other learn about the text, then color them. This paired learning is called havruta.** After they’ve studied and argued over their page, they’ll teach the class. At least that’s the plan.
After we finished our sausage and mushroom pizza, I got in the Rav4 and headed back to Shadow Mountain. 6 pm. The heart of rush hour. Fortunately I only had to travel a small chunk of 470 with all the folks going back to the southern burbs from downtown Denver. At this hour it can be stop and go past 285. Which is where I turn west into the mountains.
*”Pirkei Avot (literally, “Chapters of the Fathers,” but generally translated as “Ethics of Our Fathers”) is one of the best-known and most-cited of Jewish texts. Even those who claim to know little about Jewish literature are familiar with maxims such as “If I am only for myself, who am I? (1:14)” and “Say little and do much (1:15).” Popular Hebrew songs take as their lyrics lines such as “The world stands on three things: Torah, service, and acts of loving kindness (1:2)” and “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it (2:21).”” My Jewish Learning
**”Jews seldom study alone; the study of Torah is, more often than not, a social and even communal activity. Most commonly, Jews study Jewish texts in pairs, a method known as (“fellowship”). In havruta, the pair struggles to understand the meaning of each passage and discusses how to apply it to the larger issues addressed and even to their own lives.” My Jewish Learning