Thursday, May 06, 2010

by Naomi Less
May 5, 2010

How many ways can we translate the Hebrew word for ‘sacred’?

This past year, Storahtelling has been involved in a strategic partnership with the BJE-SAJES NY in a year-long program to work with congregational schools in the New York area. The program, titled LOMED, challenges educational teams (clergy, ed directors and teachers) to think about outcomes, evaluations and priority goals.

Storahtelling, as well as Hazon, Avoda Arts and Teva, have been working with approximately 7 congregations, teaching their teams our methodologies, aiming for them to build skills and be more intentional in lesson planning with design principles at the core of what they do.

My work with the congregations put the educators in the "translator" driver’s seat.

Cantor Eric Schulmiller of the Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore in Plandome, NY, learned our some of our Maven Method and utilized it with several different age groups in several different settings - and he said it was "great every time".

He decided to utilize the methodology to teach prayer. His 6th grade "Mavens" built their own translations for the Kedusha, the second section of the Amidah (the "standing prayer).

They broke down the Kedusha word by word and brainstormed how THEY would translate it - not just how their prayer book translated it.

Kadosh: Awesomely, really amazingly
Kadosh: extremely, specially
Kadosh: awesome, cool, amazing, super
Adoshem Tzeva'ot: Keeper of Everything, The Eternal One, Everything and Nothing, Meaning of Life, Ruler of Mystery,
M'lo: contains, pours, overflows, fulfills,
Chol Ha'aretz: everything in our knowledge, everything worth knowing, the whole universe, life
Kevodo: presence, Godliness, sovereignty, kingship, It, eternity, gold, hineni

Then, they each translated in their own soulful voices, how they would say the Kedusha:

Amazingly, specially awesome, Keeper of everything, whose eternity contains everything.

Amazingly awesomely cool, Meaning of Life, who contains everything - Hineni!

Really, awesomely, super, Ruler of Mystery, whose presence contains life.
Really, awesomely awesome, Everything & Nothing, whose presence contains everything.

Totally, completely awesome, The Eternal One's "hineni" pours the knowledge of life.

Way to go, Eric and the 6th grade Mavens!

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