another point about inside

vs. outside:

Already over 10 years ago, I finished a summer program at Gratz College in Jewish Special Needs.  Since it’s a Jewish program, they threw in the obligation to take half the courses in Jewish stuff, even beyond the Jewish special needs themselves.  So I took a variety of interesting courses in Jewish Music (really great course) and in Exegesis (interesting).  At one point, the only course available was on the Jewish Yearly Cycle, which felt a little ridiculous at the start, but proved the point of

בן זומא אומר, איזה הוא חכם–הלמד מכל אדם

you really can (and should) learn from everyone.

The teacher was a sociologist, so she taught the course from the viewpoint of what works in keeping Judaism viable, whether Conservative (as she was), Reform or anything else.  Her main point was that the rituals that are home-based, davka, are those that have staying power.  So the most important Jewish rituals are the Pesach seder and Hanukkah, because they are done with the family and at home.

I’ll throw in a funny story that I’ve probably told you privately, but I can’t resist.  With this information, a particular Jewish summer camp staff went out of their way to reinforce something that they were doing with the kids during the summer that they could take home to do with their families throughout the year.  They came up with Havdallah, since it required very little training, and was short and sweet.  The next summer, when the kids returned, the staff asked them if they were successful in “performing” Havdallah with their families.  The overwhelming answer that they got was “no”.

“Why not?”

“We don’t have a lake.”


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