the weather is dreadful

Snow for Purim?  It’s happened before.  I remember our first year here in town with daughter #1 in the little red wagon, being pulled along with the Mishloach Manot packages we were giving out just in the close neighborhood.  Plus there are pictures to help my poor memory.

Nah–I’d remember that even without the photos because she was so cute (you still are:) ) and because well, it was so memorable!

Now here comes another problem.  Do we emphasize the emotions, the memory-making potential, or do we go straight for the meat?  I’ve mentioned the part about the emotion tying you to the facts before, but here’s an interesting column about just that.

At The Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly, in a panel on Jewish Peoplehood, Dr. Erica Brown noted that there are three components to identity formation: the cognitive (what we think), the behavioral (what we do), and the emotional (what we feel). In discussing some of the maladies plaguing the American Jewish community, Dr. Brown suggested an interesting diagnosis: when American Jews speak about Jewish identity they aggressively emphasize the emotional.

In other words, to too many American Jews, Jewish identity means feeling Jewish.

So, in a word, this is correct, when the learning is not tied to the emotion.  When you tie them together, it is a much stronger bundle in the brain (that’s not an image; that’s actually a brain fact, except without the correct terminology; pardon my after-the-fast brain).  So the rest of the column of how to do the learning part is important, but don’t forget the emotions!  That’s why the scandals of the charismatic leaders can happen, when people who need the emotional fix look for that from people who will feed them.  And that’s why we have to train our educators/rabbis so carefully and then why we have to supervise them even more carefully.

And we have to listen to everyone, because they might just be telling us something we need to hear.


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