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Target ages: 8+

Goals: To express the idea of true menucha – rest – on Shabbat
Materials: If you have, use stress balls, sunglasses, relaxing music, lawn chairs, candles, and pillows

Description of the program:

Choose one or all options:

  • Compare Shabbat to school recess or a spa! – recreation, fun, rest, and play

  • Show items/symbols from everyday life and show how they can be used on Shabbat

  • Set up a "Shabbat Space" in the middle of the camp, complete with stress balls, sunglasses, relaxing music, lawn chairs, candles, and pillows – campers can relax in the afternoon


Counselor’s evaluation and recommendations for future activities

(Please write this section after implementing the program):

Specialist or supervisor’s evaluation and recommendations for future activities (Please write this section after implementing the program):



Name of Camp: ___________________________________________

Prepared by JEXNET: The Network for Experiential Jewish Youth Education

Program Title: Shabbat and Jewish Identity

Target ages: 12+

Goals: To explore themes of Shabbat and Jewish identity

Time: 30 minutes

Materials: None

Description of the program:

Either discuss quotes, ask trigger questions, or play agree/disagree with the following statements:

  • ‘More than the Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews’ (A.D. Gordon)

  • "The meaning of the Sabbath is to celebrate time rather than space. Six days a week we live under the tyranny of things of space; on the Sabbath we try to become attuned to holiness in time. It is a day on which we are called upon to share in what is eternal in time, to turn from the results of creation to the mystery of creation; from the world of creation to the creation of the world." (Heschel)

  • “Every person must carry the holiness of Shabbat to hallow the other days of the week.” (Rebbe Nachman of Braslav)

  • “Shabbat brings every creature back to its roots”

  • Shabbat is called shalom. (Zohar)

  • On Shabbat Eve one is given an extra soul, and when Shabbat leaves, it is taken from him. (Talmud)

Some trigger questions:

    • How does Shabbat fit into my life?

    • What does Shabbat mean to me as a Jew?

    • How does Shabbat differ for me at home and at camp? How can I bring home what I had in camp?

    • What does holiness mean? What is holy about Shabbat

Counselor’s evaluation and recommendations for future activities

(Please write this section after implementing the program):

Specialist or supervisor’s evaluation and recommendations for future activities (Please write this section after implementing the program):


Name of Camp: ___________________________________________

Prepared by JEXNET: The Network for Experiential Jewish Youth Education

Important Shabbat Times and Opportunities

Three Ways to Approach Havdalah (conclusion of Shabbat)

  • Through senses – smell the besamim; touch/reach out toward the flame and feel the heat; hear – the blessings and song; see the flame; taste the sweet wine

  • Melave Malka – song, dance, etc – escorting the "Shabbat queen" as she leaves us for another week and holding onto the Shabbat a bit longer, to bring its spirit into the week.

  • Havdalah pajama party

Talk about separating Shabbat from the week and holy from the mundane. Does it feel different?

Recognizing teachable moments during Shabbat

  • Friday afternoon – Erev Shabbat – idea of preparation for Shabbat

  • Lighting candles – woman’s mitzvah, beginning and ending Shabbat with fire, illuminating one’s home

  • Oneg Shabbat Friday night – make staff and all-camp onegs to celebrate the joy of shabbat

  • Parsha time – teaching the Torah story one week at a time

  • Emphasize rest time in afternoon

  • Havdalah – see above!

  • Week leading up to Shabbat – preparation

  • Begin each shabbat with thinking back to where you were last shabbat and where you will be next shabbat (linking – most effective on first and last week)

Top Ways to Enhance your Shabbat Environment

  • Encourage your campers to dress differently than during the week

  • Distribute ‘shabbat treats’ – snacks or flowers on Friday afternoon

  • Have campers make and sell shabbat-o-grams – so campers can give gifts to their friends and donate money to tzedakah

  • Assign various rituals to different age groups or bunks so they can all ‘own’ a part of Shabbat (bunk goes up while someone makes kiddush)

  • Plan a special afternoon staff/camper softball game

  • Allow for a later wake-up time! (Special breakfast cereals?)

  • End shabbat with a preview of next shabbat’s theme or special activity so campers look forward to it

Prepared by JEXNET: The Network for Experiential Jewish Youth Education

Shir Fun Ideas:

A Curriculum in Song

1. Sing Down. Divide groups into teams of 5-7 campers. The leader announces a word or theme and the teams have 8 minutes to come up with as many songs with that word or in that theme as they can. Taking turns, each group selects a song from their list and sings a bit of it for the rest. Songs cannot be repeated by other teams. The team which sings the most tunes wins that round.

2. Zimriyah - Song Festival. Every cabin/tent in your school is taught a special song which will be introduced at a camp-wide song festival. Make sure to include a song for the counselors and staff. Invite everyone at camp to the program.

3. Video. If your camp has access to video recording equipment, have a class prepare a contemporary music video to accompany a song which you teach. Make sure video is scripted!

4. Song Slides and Transparencies. Instead of using song books, purchase slides or make transparencies of the song and project on screen.

5. Name That Tune. Develop your own game and rules for a personal Name That Tune.

6. Invite a Musician. Invite a working Jewish musician or entertainer from your community to visit your camp and share their experiences or do a mini concert – or a big concert!

7. Candlelight Singing. Turn off the lights and have a quiet song session by candlelight.

8. Music Appreciation. Bring in CDs of Jewish and Israeli music and play them for your campers.

9. Musical Skits. Have students act out songs using mime, props or other mediums.

10. Radio Program. Have each cabin/tent record a song. Songs are edited onto one master recording and produced as a radio program complete with commercials and interviews.

11. Instruments. Bring drums and other percussion instruments to your song session. Distribute and have your campers accompany the songs.

12. Choir. There is perhaps no better way of developing a joy of Jewish music. DO IT!!

13. Shigaon. Too difficult to explain in writing, so I’ll show you!

14. Musical Sermon. Develop with your Rabbi or Educator a musical sermon. The sermon will feature songs by the campers with narration or story to be ready by Rabbi and/or campers.

15. Are You Listening. Have the campers do a listening exercise such as telephone or read a complex story and have them recall the details.

16. Midrash. The midrash of the three letters Shin – quiet, Mem – contemplate, Ayin – to grasp.

17. Human Sculptures. Have class act out a song, word, or feeling.

Prepared by Shira Kline, performer, recording artist, and sacred technician.
. Adapted from Craig ‘N Co -

Israeli Folk and Jewish Dance

An Overview: The Evolution of Israeli Folk and Jewish Dance in Israel and America

By Ruth Goodman
Folk dance. The very term implies a rooted tradition expressing the characteristics of a people, its way of life, its customs. It is passed down from generation to generation evolving over centuries. If choreographers existed at all, they are as unknown as the composers of the music which accompanied the dances. It's birthplace is the village, far away from worldly city life.

Israeli folk dance is a unique phenomena having developed against all laws of folk culture. In fact, the entire movement began as late as 1944. Every choreographer and composer is known by name--and it all happened in our own lifetime.

We know from the Bible that the Jewish people danced: the expression of mental, spiritual and physical joy is shown in the words of Ecclesiastes--"A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance". Dance as praise to God is shown in the Psalm: "Praise his name in drum and dance, sing praises with the timbrels and harp". But although there are some thirty Hebrew words relating to dance in the Bible, we do not know how the people danced since any artwork constituting graven images was prohibited by Jewish law. So we can only infer the nature of these dances from word derivations and from general descriptions of the major festivals and other celebrations in the Bible: CHUL--to rotate or spin--is used most often in connection with dances of women. It may also derive from the word CHALIL, flute, indicating the musical accompaniment of the instrument as the origin of dance. "Praise his name in drum and dance--HALELU HU BETOF U'MACHOL." RAKOD--relates to vigorous movement--skip, leap animal like--Psalm 124:4--"The mountains skipped (danced) like rams, the hills like young sheep--HEHARIM RAKDU K'EILIM, GVA'OT KIVNEI TZON." And, again from Ecclesiastes: "A time to weep a time to laugh, a time to mourn, a time to dance (ATE LIRKOD).
In reference to Jewish holiday ceremonies, we infer from the word CHAG, derived from CHUG, meaning to circle around, that the three Festivals--Chag HaPesach, Chag HaShavuot, and Chag HaSukkot--involved processions around the alter and that dance was much a part of these agricultural celebrations.

Another religious nature festival, the water drawing festival, was very colorful. Beginning with a procession from Mt. Moriah to Lake Shiloah, a priest marched in front holding a golden pitcher with which he drew water to pour on the altar. On his return, he stopped at the gate where he was met by people singing: "U'SHAVTEM MAYIM BESASON MI MAINEI HAYESHUA--And ye shall draw water with joy from the wells of salvation." The evening was highlighted by a brilliant torch dance.

Another interesting dance custom relates to the Yom Kippur dance. Girls all dressed in white, similar so rich and poor would appear equal, would dance with the young men watching from a distance. The men would choose their brides during the dance.

The first mention of dance in the Bible refers to Miriam, the prophetess, the sister of Moses and Aaron, who led the women in a victory dance (machol) with timbrels upon crossing the Red Sea.

Jerusalem, city of peace, city of David--David the king who danced with religious fervor around the holy ark.
After the destruction of the Temple, the Jewish people were separated from their spiritual homeland and dispersed throughout Europe, Asia and Africa. Nature festivals ceased, but Jewish life flourished in the great centers of learning, although these too were periodically destroyed.
One dance tradition that is carried out today in the form of Purim Carnivals, originated in the Diaspora. This is the Purim dance-pantomime which dates from the 10th century. (Purim recounts the narrow escape from disaster for the Jews of Persia at the hands of a wicked prime minister.)
The numerous plagues and pogroms as well as the expulsion of Jewish communities from place to place resulted in a large population of vagabonds. Among them were poets, entertainers, artists and acrobats. There also developed a group of minstrels, storytellers and wandering yeshiva students. During this time in the Middle Ages, two rather macabre dances became popular: The "Bettler Tanz" (Beggar's dance) for which the poor of the community would be invited to partake of the wedding feast with the bride, and the "Totentanz" (Dance of Death) in which two orphans were wed in a ceremony held in a cemetery--this at the time of the terrible epidemics sweeping through Europe.
With Jewish life restricted to home and synagogue, only faint reminders of agricultural/religious ceremonies remained. To this day, the observance of the festival of Sukkot includes the lulav (palm branch) and etrog (citrus fruit) in a religious procession around the pulpit, and the waving of the lulav to all corners of the universe.

Also established at this time was the "Tanzhaus", or dancing hall, sometimes called "Beit Chatunot" or wedding houses, because wedding celebrations often lasted a full week. This did not develop in the more affluent communities of Spain and the East where Jewish homes were large enough to entertain in. Another development was that of the "tanz-fuhrer", or dance leader, who would entertain and improvise in dance and song.

An outstanding figure of the Middle Ages was Guilielmo Ebreo (William the Jew) of Pesaro. With dance an important part of upper-class Italian social life, his "Treatise on the Art of Dancing" set guidelines including dance steps and choreographies by Ebreo. He was supposed to have been a brilliant dance master and from these early dance notations, his court dances continue to be reconstructed to this day.

The Chassidic movement which arose in the mid-18th century greatly influenced the self-image of the ghetto Jew. It taught that God is everywhere and can be reached through song and dance as well as prayer. The founder of the Chassidic movement, Israel Baal Shem Tov, taught that God should be served with joy and happiness, and that the scholar and sage are no more precious to the Divine than the non-learned individual. This sense of spiritual equality gave their dances a religious and ecstatic flavor. With body and soul the Chassidim begin with a chant which becomes more and more excited with an accelerated tempo and continues into a frenzy soaring to the heavens.

The wedding dances reflected the lives and customs of the Jews of Eastern Europe:

The BROIGES-TANZ--a consolation dance, attempts to resolve the problems of the newlyweds. The man offers trinkets to the woman. She refuses each but finally agrees to reconciliation by accepting a final offer from him.

The PATCH-TANZ (clap dance) initiates the bride into the circle of married women. She is no longer carefree but now bears the responsibilities of wedded life.

The MITZVA-TANZ is a farewell dance participated in by the bride's relatives. Holding a handkerchief with the bride, each in turn circles around her and takes his leave. This represents her parting from her own family and accepting a new role in the family of her groom.

The KOILITCH-TANZ is performed by the oldest woman in the community. She holds the "koilitch" or braided challah, which is circular rather than oblong in shape, over her head and dances with it before the bride and groom as they come from the wedding ceremony. The community in this way wishes them a bountiful life.

The SHER, or scissors dance, has a basic figure following the blade of a scissors. Inspired by the image of a tailor, other figures include a weaving or sewing pattern.

Around the turn of the century, the Jewish people began to return to its homeland bringing with them dances from many lands: The tcherkessia and kossatchok from Russia; the polka and krakoviak from Poland. The hora, originally from Romania, fit perfectly the spirit of the chalutzim, the pioneers who settled on the kibbutz: The closed circle with arms around each other's shoulders expressed the close relationship between all members of the community. The simple energetic movements of stamping and jumping could go on for hours. The "rondo", a kind of Polish polonaise was also a favorite for it drew people together in a variety of formations which could go on and on.
But something was missing. Rivka Sturman, a well-known Israeli choreographer relates a story: One morning in 1942, on her kibbutz, Ein Charod, she passed the children's quarter where her own children were, and heard them singing German folk songs. At a time when Jews were being butchered in Germany, Rivka was shocked and disturbed. However, from this experience, she had a positive reaction. She felt the need for new songs and dances to be created from the culture of the land in which they now lived. Other dance teachers and musicians shared her feelings. And so, the kibbutz became the birthplace of Israel's modern folk dance movement. for it was here that the need for new songs and dances to reflect a revived culture was realized.

The first endeavors took the form of pageants recreating the biblical nature festivals. Attempts were made to go to the actual places described in the Bible and to use ancient musical instruments to accompany the dances. Since these festivals were agricultural and not just religious, they spoke to the kibbutz settlers, most of whom were not religious and took holidays for times of celebration and dance. Thus Pesach was celebrated by the Omer, the cutting and presenting of the first grains; Shavuot was a celebration of the first fruits, "Chag Habikurim", and Sukkot was an autumn harvest festival, "Chag Ha'assif" and "Simchat Beit Hashoevah", praying for rain. Everyone and everything on the kibbutz was involved in some of these pageants--the farmers, the children, the animals, the tools and even the vehicles! And all were carefully costumed and decorated! After such a celebration, performers would teach dances to others and in this way would share dances which had roots in the land and the history of the people.

Then, in 1944, the first Dalia Festival took place. Dalia is a kibbutz near Haifa and is today considered the cradle of Israeli folk dance. Gurit Kadman, who was affectionately known as the "mother of Israeli folk dance", had been asked by the kibbutz to stage the "Story of Ruth" for Shavuot. She took this opportunity to combine the celebration with a folk dance meeting. It was during World War II but her feeling was that people need time to be joyous and so she went ahead with her plans. The result was a two day meeting of 200 dancers and an audience of 3,500 for the concluding evening's program. Although only a few of the dances performed were original creations, most having been impressive dances of other countries, the Festival was the catalyst for the development of Israeli folk dance with dances such as "mayim, mayim" having been introduced at this time. The 1947 Dalia Festival had to last all night because of travel restrictions and curfews on all roads, but all dances performed were original creations. By 1968, the Dalia Festival had evolved into a pageant in which 3,000 dancers performed for 60,000 spectators.

The different ethnic groups living in Israel influenced the new folk dance creations: Chassidim, Kurds, Druze, and especially the Yemenites. These very artistic and colorful people have movement qualities reflecting the delicate filigree of their artwork, the undulation of camels on the desert, and the feeling of walking on hot, desert sands. The Yemenites claim direct descent from the Jews who fled Jerusalem at the time of the destruction of the Temple and came to settle in Yemen at the southern tip of Arabia. For some time these devout Jews lived in prosperity until the end of the sixth century when they became subject to social and economic persecution. For 1300 years they held to their faith in the prophecy that they would one day be carried away on eagles wings. Their prayers were answered shortly after the establishment of the State of Israel--Operation Magic Carpet airlifted the Jewish community of Yemen on a giant silver bird--a modern airplane--to their ancient home.

The Chassidic and Yemenite communities which developed thousands of miles apart from each other, share similar movement characteristics, a curiosity which Sara Levy-Tanai, founder of the Inbal Yemenite Dance Theatre attributes to both groups having lived in ghettos. And it is these two groups, the Chassidim and the Yemenites which we can consider to have developed authentic Jewish dance styles.

But there is another authentic dance style in Israel, the Arabic debka. Perhaps related to the word "davek" meaning to stick together, the debka is a virile line dance passed down through the generations from father to son. Living in villages around the Galilee, the Druze are a secret religious sect. As mentioned before, in the hot summer of 1947, despite blackouts, curfews and travel restrictions throughout the country, another Dalia Festival was held. This was the Dalia of the Druze, for it was this group that continued to dance undaunted by the surrounding dangers, and kept spirits high all through the night.
The ethnic groups provide a rich tapestry of elements in our search for "authentic" Israeli dance creations. With this in mind, Gurit Kadman established the Ethnic Dance Project in 1974,

So against all laws of the development of a folk culture, but in a unique situation with immigrants from all over the world sharing a cultural bond, a miracle seemed to take place: The rebirth of a land was mirrored by a rebirth of a culture. The dance creators, inspired by traditions and rituals of Judaism, a variety of characteristics acquired through the Diaspora, the colorful life-styles of those who continued to live in Israel, the landscape and sense of renewed existence in an ancient land, gave rise to an ever-increasing repertoire of Israeli folk dances. These dances reflect the spirit and vitality of Israel's youth as well as a variety of steps influenced by diverse ethnic groups. Most dances have no specific theme but take their name from the name of the song being danced to. The music to the highly spirited dances is driven by syncopated rhythms. In addition to the circle and line dances, many lovely couple dances offer an alternative to social dancing. The costumes, used mainly for the stage, combine biblical style, ornaments and modern traits.

The Inbal Yemenite Dance Theatre, founded by Sara Levy-Tanai, embodies the rich culture of Israel together with Yemenite folklore. American artists such as Jerome Robbins and Anna Sokolow, have worked with this unique company.

The Karmon Dance Company put the vitality of Israel's youth on stage with its own brand of pizazz. Full of fun, high energy and theatricality, many of Yonatan Karmon's stage dances became popular folk dances. Among these are Haroa Haktana, Shibolet Basadeh and Yamin U'Smool (Orcha Bamidbar).

Jewish theatrical dance developed in America as well. In 1926, the Moscow Habimah theatre visited New York with its production of "The Dybbuk" which made marvelous use of gesture, riveting the dance and theatre world. This was the first time that Chassidic movement and dance steps were successfully used in a play to emphasize action. It's Beggar's Dance" became a classic. Maurice Schwartz' production of "Yoshe Kalb" was also noted for its dancing choreographed by Lillian Shapero, a member of the first Martha Graham dance company. Other American Jewish dance pioneers are still active: Pearl Lang, whose choreographies include "The Dybbuk" and "Shira"; Elliot Feld has created "Tzaddik" and "Sephardic Song"; Sophie Maslow's work includes "The Village I Knew" based on storied of Shalom Aleichem; Anna Sokolow choreographs extensively in Israel as well as in the United States.

The team of Felix Fibich and Judith Berg developed a repertory based on Jewish themes. Judith Berg was commissioned to choreograph the Yiddish speaking film of "The Dybbuk" in 1937 in Warsaw, Poland. In the film, she danced the part of "Death". This classic film can still be seen in theatres in America. Born in Poland, Felix Fibich was surrounded by Chassidim from early childhood. Thus he concentrates on interpretations of Chassidic life in his program.

Margalit Oved, Hadassah Badoch, both former stars of Inbal, Ze'eva Cohen and Ohad Naharin, all Israeli dance artists, continue, although residing in America, to incorporate Israeli/Jewish themes into their repertories.

The inspiring force in Jewish dance in America--affectionately known as the "father of israeli folk dance in America"--was Fred Berk, whose vision enabled him to establish a network of Israeli folk dance activities. His story is told in "Victory Dances--the Life of Fred Berk", by Judith Brin Ingber.

Israeli dances are now being danced all over the world and offer an active means of identification with Israel and Jewish roots. Its energy and diverse ethnic quality give it an appeal to people of all backgrounds. In America especially, Israeli folk dance festivals are held in many cities as well as weekend workshops and regular weekly folk dance sessions. Such activity provides a warm, recreational environment in which the language of folk dance can be the means of communication in a new community and the essential spirit of friendship and joining hands reminds us that folk dance creations which originated in the village were re-created in the kibbutz and are now shared in individual communities whether in big cities or rural areas.

The hope to dance in peace is still the ultimate dream of Israel and the recent past has created situations in which dance may have seemed inappropriate. But in the words of the Yiddish poet M. Warshawski: "...If I am beaten by the whole world--Davka--especially then, I will go out and dance...". To see the huge dance parade in Haifa on Israel's Independence Day with thousands of dancers and traditional folk dance groups taking part joined by spectators of all ages who join the dancers at the end of the parade, the hope is today, that Israeli folk dances danced in many countries together with folk dances from all over the world will help to bring joy and friendship, to many people together with international understanding and good will so that one day we may celebrate with Israel, her surrounding countries and nations throughout the world in song, dance and ever longed for peace.

Prepared by Ruth Goodman, Director, Israeli Dance Institute.

Ki Eshmera Shabbat

כִּי אֶשְׁמֵרָה שַׁבָּת – KI ESHMERA SHABBAT (Because I Keep Shabbat)
Dance: Silvio Berlfein (Dance for children)

Music: “Ahavat Hadassah” melody


Stand in a circle facing center with hands free

1-8 Walk to the center 4 steps and bounce in place 4 times

9-16 Walk backwards out of center 4 steps and bounce in place 4 times

17-32 Repeat 1-16
The first verse we show the candles, the second verse we serve the wine and drink it, the third

verse we place the challah on the Shabbat table and we say the motzi and taste it. In between each

we do the chorus, i.e., the in and out steps.
Candles (verse 1):

Put one hand up like a candle (1-2) put the second hand up like a candle (3-4).

Make the candles dance side to side (5-8).

Show a candle again, then another one (9-12 = repeat 1-4).

Move your arms and fingers up “pretending to make them shine” (13-16).

Repeat 1-16 (all the candle movements).

Wine (verse 2):

Take the Kiddush cup with one hand, take the wine with the other one, pour a little bit and put it on

the Shabbat table (1-8). Repeat this 3 times (9-24). The 4th time, lift the Kiddush cup, pretending

to say the blessing over the wine, and drink (25-32).

Challah (verse 3):

Show your hands as pretending to have a tray with the challah. Move the “tray” to the right (1-2), then to

the left (3-4), lift it up (5-6) and put it on the Shabbat table (7-8). Do this three times (9-24).

Then lift the challah, tell the children to pretend to say “Hamotzi”, (the blessing over the challah),

break a piece of challah and eat it (25-32).

NOTE: The same melody is used in a setting of “Ahavat Hadassah.”

The step descriptions of this traditional dance as well as the text are provided on the following page.
אַהֲבַת הֲדַסָּה


(For the Love of Israel [Hadassah])
Dance: Rivka Sturman

Text: From poem by Rabbi Shalem Shabazi (Yemenite)

Meter: 4/4

Formation: Lines face CCW, join hand w/left arm bent at waist palm up

1-2 Step fwd w/R

3-4 Step L bwd, bending L knee

5-6 Step R fwd (change weight w/both knees bent for a moment), stretch R knee

7-8 Step L fwd

9-32 Repeat 1-8 three more times
PART I - Face center
1-2 Step R to rt.

3-4 Step L behind R

5-6 Repeat 1-2

7-8 Step L across R, hop on R

9-32 Repeat 1-8 three more times
PART II - Face center
1-2 Release hands, step R to rt.

3-4 Cross L in front of R, cross arms in front of body and snap

5-6 Step R to rt., sway L to left

7-8 Leap onto R to rt., cross L over R and snap w/arms crossed

9-32 Repeat 1-8 three more times

אַהֲבַת הֲדַסָּה עַל לְבָבִי נִקְשְׁרָה Ahavat Hadassah al livavi nikshara

וַאֲנִי בְּתוֹךְ גּוֹלָה פְּעָמַי צוֹלְלִיםVa’ani, b’toch gola, pe’amai tzol’lim
The love of Israel is bound upon my heart

But my footsteps fall in the diaspora
Prepared by Ruth Goodman, Director, Israeli Dance Institute.

The Jewish Week (02/02/2007)

Shabbat Shira / Beshalach: The Ecstasy of Jewish Dance
Ruth Goodman

Water is at once both life-giving and annihilating. It has a pulse, a rhythm and its power in the hands of the Master Artist is made clear with the crossing of Yam Suf (the Red Sea). The pulse and rhythm of the sea seems the heartbeat of life and the core of art. Tranquility and turbulence, through ebbs and flows in rhythmic phrases, become dance and song as they are colored by textures of movement, palettes of sound and inspired verse.

At the pivotal crossroad of the Exodus, Miriam’s triumphant dance and song signifies the gateway to the creation of community. The confluence of emotions — fear, hope, faith in the Almighty — as they successfully crossed the sea and witnessed the drowning Egyptians, are released in song and dance praising Hashem; first by Moshe and the men, “Then sang Moshe and the children of Israel this song” [Ex. 15:1], and then “Miriam the prophetess… took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and dances. And Miriam sang unto them…” [Ex. 15:20 – 21].

Jews as a dancing people begin with this first powerful biblical reference. There are some thirty Hebrew words in the Bible relating to dance, but we don’t know what these dances looked like. Artwork, thought to constitute graven images, was interpreted as prohibited by Jewish law. We can only infer the nature of these dances from word derivations and descriptions of festivals and celebrations. In the verse referring to the dances led by Miriam, the word is mecholot. The root, chul (to rotate or spin) is most often used in connection with dances of women. It may also relate to chalil (flute), indicating the musical accompaniment. Psalm 150 proclaims: “Praise Him with timbrels and dance... Halelu Hu betof u’machol.”

In contrast, rakod, similar to the more familiar term for dance, rikud, relates to vigorous movement – skipping, leaping, animal-like as in Psalm 124:4: “The mountains skipped (danced) like rams, the hills like young sheep… Heharim rakdu k’eilim, gva’ot kivnei tzon.” To me, this suggests a more masculine expression. I would imagine that while Miriam led the women in dance, the men also released their joy through movement as well as song.

The Hasidic movement, which arose in the mid-18th century, perhaps best captures the essence of dance in its purest form. The Baal Shem Tov taught that God should be served with joy and happiness, and that the scholar and sage are no more precious to the Divine than a less learned individual. This sense of spiritual equality gives their dances a religious and ecstatic flavor. With body and soul, chasidic chant becomes increasingly excited with an accelerated tempo continuing into frenzy as the spirit expressed by dance soars to the heavens. This physical expression of religious fervor reminds us of the jubilation of Moshe and Miriam on the shores of the sea.

Dance as an expression of mental, spiritual and physical joy is found in Ecclesiastes: “To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose … a time to dance.” Water and dance are also linked in the description of the water-drawing festival, Simchat Beit HaShoevah. It began with a procession from Mt. Moriah to Lake Shiloah. A Kohen marched in front holding a golden pitcher with which he drew water to pour on the altar. On his return, he stopped at the gate where he was met by people singing: “U’shavtem mayim besason mi maynei hayeshu… — And you shall draw water with joy from the wells of salvation.” The evening was highlighted by a brilliant torch dance. These same words were echoed in the 1940s when a modern woman created a dance following the discovery of water on her kibbutz. The dance, Mayim, is one of the oldest and best-known Israeli folk dances.

The pioneers of the modern Jewish state were conscious of dance as a communal expression, dancing in closed circles with arms around each other’s shoulders. Gurit Kadman, considered the catalyst for modern Israeli dance at the dawn of the state, sought new songs and dances to reflect a revived culture. Through pageants recreating biblical festivals, influences of the landscape, and a sense of renewed existence in an ancient land, various ethnic groups and immigrants from all over the world shared a cultural and physical bond. The rebirth of the land mirrored the rebirth of a culture.

Israeli folk dance provides a common language that transcends barriers and allows us to relate to each other while reaffirming our identification with Israel and our Jewish roots. On this Shabbat Shira, coinciding with Tu b’Shvat — The New Year of the Trees, let us follow Miriam’s lead. Let’s turn to the sea and find the rhythmic balance within ourselves so that we can create communities resplendent with harmony and ripe with understanding. Marvel at the sapling and the miracles of life that surround us. As we replenish our souls and renew our spirits, may Hashem guide us on our journey to the day when song and dance will herald a time of peace for Israel and all inhabitants of the world.

Welcoming Shabbat Through Dance
  

SHALOM LEVO SHABBAT: Welcoming Shabbat

MUSIC: Weekday - Prepare for Shabbat
GROUP 1: (Sound cue: Honking horn)

Driving car to shop / Move quickly through store / Return to car to drive home

GROUP 2: Cleaning house (vacuum, dust, use levels - reach high & low)

Indicate to next group (cooks) that all is clean for them.

GROUP 3: Cooks - prepare, stir, taste - indicate to next group that all is ready and the Shabbat

table can be set.

GROUP 4: Set table - use props - table cloth, Shabbat candles, kiddush cup. Two children open

tablecloth, others set table, light candles, place kiddush cup and invite next group

(challah) to come to the table.
GROUP 5: Challah - three girls walk in Abraiding@ pattern creating challah - when they come to the

table the real challah should appear.

At the end of the sound effects and introduction to AShalom Levo Shabbat@ music, the children holding the tablecloth should raise it high so that all the other children can pass under it, walk forward and form the two circles for the AShabbat Shalom@ dance. Some children should move the props to a real table to the side of the stage and place the table cloth and Shabbat props on it.


Music: Shalom Levo Shabbat

Formation: Two concentric circles

PART I: Children in both circles face CCW (left shoulder to center of circle, hands joined)
1-4 Walk 4 steps forward around the circle (begin with right foot)

5-8 Face center of circle and say AShalom@ while extending arms in a greeting gesture to

the sides at waist level;

Steps: (tcherkessia step) Rock forward on right, step back on left in place, rock back

on right, step forward on left in place

9-24 Repeat 1-8 twice more

25-28 Walk 4 steps forward
1-4 Clap hands on first count as you begin a tcherkessia step:

Rock fwd on R, step back on L in place, rock back on R, step fwd on L in place

5-8 Join hands and repeat tcherkessia step while moving to the left (clockwise) - this is a Amayim@ step.

9-16 Repeat 1-8

17-20 Four skips fwd to center of circle beginning with right foot while raising arms fwd

21-24 Four skips backward out of center of circle beginning with right foot while lowering arms

25-28 Four quick slides to the right side beginning with right foot

29-32 Full turn to right side with four steps beginning with right foot

Second time through the dance:

Part I Variation:
The inside circle faces the outside circle for the AShalom@ greetings, so that they greet each other.
Part II Variation:
The inside circle faces the outside circle for the entire sequence.
End of Dance:

The children walk for 16 counts to form one line facing the audience and say:

AShalom (4 counts), Shalom (4 counts), Shabbat Shalom!@ (4 counts)

(They should use the greeting gesture as they speak with each of the 4 counts.)

Prepared by Ruth Goodman, Israeli Dance Institute.

Welcoming Shabbat Through Dance

The top 10 reasons for including frequent and regular Israeli dance sessions into your curriculum for children of ALL ages:
10. Everyone needs to move around at regular intervals or find a creative form of aerobic exercise. Why not move around to Israeli music? Particularly with children, a classroom curriculum needs to be varied. Students can take a few minutes to do dances they already know or add a new dance to their repertoire. Instead of “Shimon Omer” (Simon Says) teach a dance!
9. Israeli dance, like all folk dance, is a formula. Once the steps to a specific dance are learned or taught, the same steps are always executed to the particular music. The teacher can easily refer to written or video directions for a quick reminder. If a certain piece of music is needed, perhaps for a holiday, or Shabbat, a dance with the same counts and musical structure can fit the music. For example, the dance Zemer (Nigun) Atik fits to Shalom Aleichem.
8. Students like the feeling of being able to recognize specific music and dance spontaneously. Music for easy and fun dances can be linked in series on a tape or sheet music.
7. Israeli folk dance provides us with a common language to be used among Jews throughout the world. In any language, the steps to a particular piece of music remain the same.
6. Israeli dance provides a cultural link to all Jews around the world. Many of the simple, traditional dances have become part of a universally established repertoire.

5. Israeli dance provides a hands-on educational experience within the Judaic curriculum. It is an invaluable tool for teaching the history and heritage of the various ethnic groups that comprise the diversity within Jewish culture, as well as customs and traditions within the Jewish holiday cycle.

4. Recent educational literature has emphasized the value of early acquisition of language and motor skills. For the young student, experiences in folk dance provide opportunities to explore concepts such as patterns, sequences, phrasing, rhythm, and large motor skills.
3. Israeli dance provides an inclusive experience with an opportunity for healthy social interaction among the participants. Children with varying cognitive and physical abilities and disabilities are able participate in the same exciting and enjoyable learning experience.

2. Israeli dance is a perfect vehicle to help celebrate a simcha and our ethnic pride.



Prepared by Ruth Goodman, Israeli Dance Institute.

Teva: Shabbat Texts

A more detailed analysis of the symbolic meaning of the Sabbath ritual will show that we are not dealing with obsessive over strictness but with a concept of work and rest that is different from our modern concept.

. . . “Work” is any interference by man, be it constructive or destructive, with the physical world. “Rest” is a state of peace between man and nature. . .

Any heavy work, like plowing or building, is work in this, as well as in our modern, sense. But lighting a match and pulling up a blade of grass, while not requiring any effort, are symbols of human interference with the natural process, are a breach of peace between man and nature. . . .

The Sabbath symbolizes a state of union between man and nature and between man and man. By not working – that is to say , by not participating in the process of natural and social change – man is free from the chains of time, although only for one day a week.

  • Erich Fromm (1900-1980; psychoanalyst), The Forgotten Language

Sabbath in our time! To cease for a whole day from all business, from all work, in the frenzied hurry-scurry of our time! To close the exchanges, the workshops, and factories, to stop all railway services – great heavens! How would it be possible? The life of the world would stop beating and the world perish!

The world perish? On the contrary, - it would be saved.

  • Rabbi Samson Rafael Hirsch, Judaism Eternal II:30 (1800s)

To set apart one day a week for freedom, a day on which we would not use the instruments which have been so easily turned into weapons of destruction, a day for being with ourselves, a day of detachment from the vulgar, of independence from external obligations, a day on which we stop worshipping the idols of technical civilization, a day on which we use no money, a day of armistice in the economic struggle with our fellow men and the forces of nature – is there any institution that hold out a greater hope for man’s progress than the Sabbath?

  • Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath, p.28 (1975)

The solution of man’s most vexing problem will not be found in renouncing technical civilization but in attaining some degree of independence from it.

In regard to external gifts, to outward possessions, there is only one proper attitude – to have and be able to do without them. On the Sabbath we live, as it were, independent of technical civilization: we abstain from any activity that aims at remaking or reshaping the things of space. Man’s royal privilege to conquer nature is suspended on the seventh day.

  • Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath (1975)

At the end of an epoch in which the human race has gained enormous knowledge and great mastery, Shabbat remains the emblem and practice of mystery. If we do not know what to do next, instead of trying to conquer our ignorance we may more fruitfully – and truthfully – celebrate Shabbat as our way of acknowledging that we do not know: that there is in the world not merely ignorance, but mystery.

  • Rabbi Arthur Waskow (modern)

The setting of the sun ushers in a unit of time where the flowers of the field stand over and against man as equal member of the universe. I am forbidden to pluck the flower or to do with it as I please; at sunset the flower becomes a “thou” to me with a right to existence regardless of its possible value for me. I stand silently before nature as before a fellow creature of God and not as a potential object of my control, and I must face the fact that I am a man and not God. The Sabbath aims at healing the human grandiosity of technological society.

  • Rabbi David Hartman (modern)

On the Sabbath, both humans and animals are freed from the grind of domestication; all technology, right down to the kindling of fire, is taboo. In the sabbatical year, the land itself is allowed to revert to a state of wildness. Sabbath, sabbatical and jubilee are all eruptions of wildness into the humdrum of the technical and economic order. Earth, plants, animals - even humans – are free to do as they will. So the rivers flowing from Eden leave puddles of paradise in time as well as space.

The analogy, too, can be turned on its head. If the Sabbath is a wilderness in time, then wilderness is a Sabbath in space.

Evan Eisenberg, The Ecology of Eden pp.130, 358

Tiyul Breshit / Guided Solo Walk


  1. Create a space for personal learning, reflection, and exploration along the trail.

  2. Use the guided walk to introduce new ideas and themes or review themes of the program


Leader will walk ahead on trail placing cards. Cards are placed best so that there is no visual contact of other people when reading a card. Set expectations that the group will be having a solo experience along the trail and there should be no talking before during or after the activity. A second leader should wait at the beginning of the activity to release the group about one minute apart from one another. The first leader walks down the trail with a stack of cards (about fifteen), placing them along the trail in obvious spots. In windy places, put rocks over the cards or use clothespins to attach them to branches. The first hiker begins about one minute after the leader. The leader waits at the end of the trail section and collects the group as they finish the walk. The last hiker should pick up all the cards and the second leader should double check the route to make sure there are no cards left on the trail. A discussion afterwards might bring up the participants favorite parts, what they learned, or what they experienced new during the hike.
Card ideas:

1: Your starting on a journey. Take a deep breath, relax, open your eyes and enjoy the trip. Remember, this is your trip!

2: Breath deeply, your breath nourishes the trees
3: Lie down on your back and look up. How does the forest look different?
4: Stop! Listen carefully. . . Can you hear the beating of your heart?
5: Walk Slowly! Walk with awareness. The slower you walk, the more you see.
6: Who in your life would you like to share this moment with?
7: Find something you’ve never seen before
8: What would this place look like if you were a bird flying overhead?

9: Imagine this spot at night.

10: Act like a monkey! (Don’t worry there is no one around)
11: Everything on Earth comes from nature
12: “The place whereon you stand is Holy ground.” Exodus 3:5

Find a sign of G-d

13: Please walk carefully, fawns at play!
14: Get down on your belly and get close to the ground, as low as you can go.

Look at the ground, what do you see that you didn’t see from above?

15: “We thank you . . . for all your miracles that are with us each day, and for four wonders and goodness that are with us at every moment.” Daly prayers, Amida

What in your life are you thankful for?

16: Rabbi Yonachan Ben Zakkai use to say. . . “If you have a sapling in your hand and you are told the messiah has come, first plant the sapling, then welcome the messiah.”

Go find a sapling and sit with it for 1 minute.

17: “The earth laughs in flowers” Ralph Waldo Emerson
18: Would this be a good place for a Mcdonald’s?

19: “All that we see - - The Heavens, the Earth, and all that fills it - -

All these things are the external garments of G-d.” Rabbi Shneor Zalman
20: Can you see the Hebrew letter “Aleph” in the forest?
21: Close your eyes and listen for 1 minute. Can you hear at least 3 sounds? Can you hear something you’ve never heard before?

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