Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Our Bible, Enough Learning for A Lifetime

Around fifteen or more years ago, for quite a few years I participated in what we called "Boker Limud," A Learning Morning, or a Morning of Learning.  A neighbor wanted to learn and put it all togehter.  We studied Tanach (Jewish Bible,) Kuzari, T'hillim (Psalms,) Kohelet, Women in the Bible, Ecclesiastes and lots of other courses over the years.  You can even find notes from some of the lessons on my blogs, the earliest of posts.

I remember enjoying the classes immensely but finding them sometimes very difficult to follow, because I had no real background.  As I've said my times before:
"They don't teach these things in P.S. 46, JHS 74 or in Great Neck North." 
 I didn't study the Bible in Stern College either.  I felt like I had been given a few pieces from a 5,000 (or 5 million) piece jigsaw puzzle without any idea of what the picture was supposed be of.

Even when I didn't understand much about the Tanach, I always enjoyed the classes.  And now that I know a teeny bit more, I find the lessons even more exciting.

Learning Tanach, as many Israeli-raised friends tell me, isn't even a strong element in the Israeli curriculum and that includes in religious schools.  It's almost totally ignored in the Chareidi world.

The Tanach, the Jewish Bible, is not just history, or religion, literature or a road map.  It is everything, yes, everything and more.  It should be taught more in Jewish schools, here and abroad.  There should be more tours and visits to walk the places our ansecstors walked.  Get into their "skin."  After almost thirty years in Shiloh, the longer I'm here, the more I study, the more totally connected I feel to my Land, the Holy Land, the Land of Israel.

Maybe that's why the Bible isn't taught all that much in Jewish schools here and abroad.  "They" don't want to raise Jewish kids to feel totally connected to the Jewish Land, the Land of Israel.  That's also why graduates of Jewish Day Schools can barely speak Israel, rabbis need translations etc.  Considering that most day school kids have at least fourteen years of Jewish schooling, there's no excuse for their lack of fluent Hebrew and knowledge of ancient Jewish History and the Bible.


Anonymous said...

now here is something we agree about. tanach is something all jews should learn on *cultural* grounds, not religious. it should be an important element in *secular* israeli schools. [i say the same thing about pirkei avot, by the way]. the importance of tanach in all its dimensions cannot be overestimated.
in my experience, chareidim have more than a passing knowledge of tanach.
and that american kids who went thru 12 years of jewish education, and likely a year in israel, cant speak hebrew is a scandal of american jewish education.
as for hiking the land, how can you not? how can you hold yourself back?

Batya said...

the Bible is history, religion, nationalism everything, and chareidim don't study it. At most they learn the Haftara with Bible Portion of the Week.