James Fallows has advocated in The Atlantic against the retelling of the boiled-frog myth as fact. Alas, as every devotee of the old-school video game Frogger knows, the journey toward change isn't an easy one. But as every elementary-school child will tell you, the metamorphosis from tadpole to frog is a stunning transformation to behold.
Yet the frog is also a reminder that a person cannot change on his or her own: Change comes when a heart is opened to another, such as a loved one. When it comes to frogs, we see this theme again and again—when a frog transforms, it only happens in relationship to another living being. In this Chuck Jones classic, a frog is discovered by a construction worker inside inside the cornerstone of a soon-to-be-demolished building. To his amazement, the frog bursts into a singing, dancing ragtime routine, transforming from a dull, croaking lump into a song and dance sensation.
Frog as he came to be known does not change for the sake of fame or profit, but only for the one who uncovered his hidden self, who witnessed his potential for change in the first place. Of course, there's one frog who's a teacher par excellence: that harried herder of chaos, Kermit the Frog, who in his big-screen debut is the heart and soul of a modern-day Canterbury Tales.
The film is a three-hour epic that weaves different storylines together, all of which deal with the painfully troubled relationships of a diverse group of grown children and their flawed parents. Parents who, like Pharaoh, have cast children down regret-filled rivers, forcing them to navigate the rocky shores of their own adulthood filled with resentment and angry memories of abandon or abuse.
Slaves could become freemen. The oppressed could break the shackles of their captivity. Anything is possible, if only we dare to dream the impossible dream. In the story of America's Great Seal, a particularly relevant chapter is the imagery suggested by Benjamin Franklin in August He chose the dramatic scene described in Exodus, where people confronted a tyrant in order to gain their freedom. It was the biblical record of the Exodus that enabled the spirit of optimism to prevail for the followers of Martin Luther King in their quest for equal rights, because they were stirred by the vision of Moses leading his people to the Promised Land.
It was the hope engendered by recalling how God redeemed our ancestors that allowed even Jews incarcerated in Auschwitz to furtively celebrate the Festival of Freedom and believe in the possibility of their own liberation. That optimistic spirit, based on our own miraculous history, is the second great gift we have given to mankind and defines our identity. Jewish optimism is rooted in a contrary notion, a firmly held belief that we are blessed with support from above by a caring God. And that faith in a personal God gives us faith in ourselves, in our future and in our ability to help change the world.
The God of the Exodus made clear He is constantly involved in our history and has a commitment to our survival. Thomas Cahill credits the Jews not only for monotheism but for this additional groundbreaking idea of a Divine being with Whom we share a personal relationship. The Passover story conveys that history is not happenstance. It follows a Divine master plan. It has a predestined order. Coincidence is not a Jewish concept. Coincidence is just God's way of choosing to remain anonymous. Faith gives us the certainty that whatever our present-day problems, history moves in the direction of the final messianic redemption.
That is what has always motivated us to believe in progress and to participate in tikkun olam, efforts to improve the world. Passover taught us yet another major truth: the way to perfect the world is to begin with our own families.
God built his nation by commanding not a collective gathering of hundreds of thousands in a public square but by asking Jews to turn their homes into places of family worship at a Seder devoted primarily to answering the questions of children. It seems all too obvious. Children are our future. They are the ones who most require our attention. The home is where we first form our identities and discover our values. More even than the synagogue, it is in our homes that we sow the seeds of the future and ensure our continuity.
No wonder then that commentators point out the very first letter of the Torah is a bet, the letter whose meaning is house. All of the Torah follows only after we understand the primacy of family. The world may mock Jewish parents for their over-protectiveness and their child-centered way of life, but they are the ones chiefly responsible for the extraordinary achievements of their progeny. At the Seder table, the children are encouraged to be the stars and their questions are treated with respect. And that is the first step to developing Jewish genius.
One serious question begs to be asked as we celebrate our Divine deliverance from the slavery of Egypt. We thank God for getting us out, but why did God allow us to become victims of such terrible mistreatment in the first place? A remarkable answer becomes evident in numerous Torah texts. We were slaves in Egypt — and so we have to have empathy for the downtrodden in every generation. The tragedy of our encounter with injustice was in no small measure meant to prepare us to serve throughout all future generations as spokesman for those with whose pain we can personally identify.
The purpose of our suffering was to turn us into a people committed to righting the wrongs of the world, to become partners with God in making the world worthy of final redemption. We begin the Seder by inviting the hungry and the homeless to join with us. We conclude the Seder by opening the door for Elijah. It is our acceptance of responsibility to others that is the key to hastening the arrival of Messiah.
From earliest childhood every Jew identifies with these five powerful ideas that are at the heart of Passover and its message. And precisely because memory, optimism, faith, family and responsibility have become such vital characteristics of our people, we have been able to achieve far beyond what anyone might have considered possible. I would like to point out that the only insensitive piece is when the author refers to an alzheimer's patient as a living corpse.
While I understand the point that we have a name for someone without memories, and not one for someone without history, the analogy needs to be rethought or at least the declaration that an alzheimer's patient is like a corpse. My late stage alzheimer's father will sit with us at the seder table, he cannot speak and his memories are gone. I don't consider him a corpse. So many people have or will have the disease and these people deserve honor, respect and dignity.
Where there is life, there is holiness. Surely we do have a similar word for the condition that describes ignorance of our collective past - it is called the present day education system. Not Meshugena , April 12, PM. I agree that it is of much importance to liberate, to give freedom to as many as possible. But I do not believe possible terrorists ought to be allowed into this country, and I do not believe perverse people, who commit unnatural acts, and who refer to married people who have children as "breeders," should be given the freedom to destroy the nuclear family.
Fourteen years ago I learned I was a Jew. Oh, how I would have loved to be nurtured in an observant Jewish family.
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What a delight to have known the delight of Shabbat and the Holy Days and to have shared them with my five children when they were young. If you know these things, be thankful and enjoy every moment! An inspiring lesson indeed! It calls for a sober reflection. Hope I'm free to plagerize? There is always something to be learned and Rabbi Blech's comments were not only insightful but exciting. The reason the Almighty chose the words "I Also, the idea that giving our children such an important part of the Seder and encouraging them to ask questions seemed no more than "just the way it is done".
It never occurred to me that this might play a significant part in their developing into such outstanding men and women. Building for G-d Red Yurt Elizabeth Yaari A movement, sound and mask making workshop to explore the abilities of the Hebrews first to build structures for Pharaoh then for G-d. We will stroll around campus identifying and tasting a selection of the wild edibles found here. Pesach as an All-Gendered Experience Synagogue Rabbi Mike Moskowitz On the nights of the Seder we achieve a reunification of things that have been separated, including gender.
Frogs: The Surprising Star of the Passover Table
This discussion will talk about expanding our capacity to hold identities beyond our own lived experience. We will explore how to make butter and cheese using simple ingredients found in your kitchen. Join us as we travel to Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tunisia, Turkey, Iraq, Morocco, Yemen and Persia to identify family rituals that connect us to the global traditions of our people. He'll tell you everything he knows on the subject.
How can we explore our complex relationship with time, as humans and as Jewish people, defined by rituals? This immersive experience will combine meditation, visualization, text study and practical applications for managing our time. Reintegration with AccepDance Red Yurt Henny Stern Pesach, a holiday commanding us to tell our story through an immersive experience, teaches us the importance of embodying our narrative. With AccepDance, we will have the opportunity to engage with our stories and narratives by reconnecting to our body through focus on breath, somatic stretching, and embodied dance.
When Moses saw that burning bush, he had to make a choice of whether he could love enough, believe enough, try enough and listen enough to make the revolution happen. Bring your instruments, stories and songs. Wednesday, April 24 AM Opening the Gates Prayer Synagogue Mattisyahu Brown As our sages "waited" in contemplative preparation before each prayer session, we will gather for a short facilitated gratitude meditation before Shacharit.
Create jewelry during the dialogue. As we prepare for the giving of the Torah balancing solo and communal contributions can be complicated. This text based study will provide some tools to help navigate the tension. Whittle a Yad Beige Yurt Elizabeth Yaari As we whittle our yad we explore the many times that the word yad hand appears in the Exodus story.
Jon Greenberg The struggle to understand Torah as our scientific description of the world evolves leads in some surprising directions. We'll look at the cases of the etrog tree that grew upside down, the problem of baking matzah in the southern hemisphere, how new farming methods raised concerns about kitniyot, and the Achashverosh beetle. Improvisation Beige Yurt Leah Gottfried A combination of improv games, acting techniques and storytelling, this workshop is a space to let loose, laugh and learn new skills.
Thursday, April 25 AM Morning Yoga Red Yurt Katja Schultz The morning yoga class will provide the opportunity to wake up the body and mind, and start with an appreciation of each new day. Embark on this year's Sefirat Haomer journey with daily meditations and practical tips for living with the mystical Sefirot of Kabbalah throughout. In this session we'll discuss the terms oppression, power, privilege, intersectionality, social identity, personal identity, and liberatory consciousness and use real world examples in an effort to exit the narrow place.
Learn about nettles, white pine, field mint, bee balm, and more! We will consider how each of these influence us as people: Spiritually, emotionally, physically and religiously. We will mark this special moment with calling out the moment and seizing it for Torah Study. We will break into pairs or small groups, no prior knowledge necessary. You will each take home a part of the large painting. Jon Greenberg Confused? What do these things have to do with each other? Come learn a new perspective on Pesach and the purpose of Creation.
What was the meaning of all the women following her in song, and what was the subtext of their song? We'll explore the Kabbalistic cosmology of the universe, a proposed paradigm for redemption and liberation, and the themes of dance and drumming in all of our lives as it relates to shifting consciousness. Join us for journey into our own redemption, based on Chassidic wisdom, with storytelling and embodied dance practice. Learn how Pesach comes to teach us the importance of waking up to whatever is happening, and let go of our need to control. Leave your flashlights at home and walk with an experienced guide around the lake trail.
Come for an hour of immersion in sacred sound. Opening the Gates Prayer Synagogue Mattisyahu Brown As our sages "waited" in contemplative preparation before each prayer session, we will gather for a short facilitated gratitude meditation before Shacharit.
They provide habitat for amphibians to lay their eggs without the fear of predator fish. We will hike to the vernal pools at Isabella Freedman and explore the ecology of these unique ephemeral habitats.
Improvisation Red Yurt Leah Gottfried A combination of improv games, acting techniques and storytelling, this workshop is a space to let loose, laugh and learn new skills. Come learn what joins these holidays and why we might need many different ways to access the Divine.
A Passover of Multiple Realities: Historic and Agricultural Beige Yurt Rabbi Isaiah Rothstein This class will explore how Passover is both a agricultural holiday wrapped up in biblical and geographical relevance and a historic event commemorating the Exodus from Egypt. We will consider how their might be a fusion that exists in Passover as we know it today due to the urbanization of the large majority of Jews around the world in modern times.
We will also discuss how we might utilize the pilgrimage holidays as a voice for living sustainably in the 21st Century. Looking at the second chapter of Bereshit and Rashi's commentary we will consider the dust and God's breath that we are made of and what it means for our lives today. Texts in English will be provided. Erin Leib Smokler As we prepare our homes for Pesach, let's make sure to prepare our souls.
We'll look to the Chassidic tradition to help us with this internal process. We will further discuss the opportunity that G-d gave the Jewish people to reclaim the Garden of Eden and how the love story of Shir Hashirim, which we read on Pesach, serves as a basis for reaching Garden of Eden today. A Kabbalah of Activism Synagogue Mattisyahu Brown No matter your chosen activism or work in the world, tethering it to the Omnipresent is a means of unlimited empowerment and success.
As a community we will come together and celebrate the holiday coming to an end and the ideas around the coming of the Mashiach. Parents, and guardians, you can relax into the retreat, knowing that your children are playing and learning with exceptional Jewish experiential educators. We have an engaging, thoughtful, and fun Pesach Camp Teva program planned for children ages 5— Everything from seders and morning shacharit to exploring the forest and the farm. Children under the age of 5 are welcome to participate with an adult. Camp Teva Programming runs between breakfast and lunch and between lunch and dinner with some evening programming scheduled.
Gan Adamah is for children ages 2—4. Gan Adamah is located in the Beige Yurt. Please see the schedule below for times. We spend most of our time outside, hiking, playing games, visiting the goats in all types of weather. Please wear the appropriate clothing for these activities. All activities meet in Arts and Crafts, unless otherwise noted. From there we will move to other locations on campus. Make charoset on the bike blender! There is fun to be had during check-in for kids and adults alike. We will go over program logistics and expectations.
Have something to eat now in the Great Hall before the seder. Travel back in time to Mitzrayim through hands-on interactive activities, games, songs, and more! Please wear your name badge throughout the retreat! Wake Up and Stretch Stretch out your bodies with kid-led yoga or field games to get your body moving.
Every morning we will begin our day with stretching and a game to shake the sleep away. We will be hiking, exploring, and searching for the hidden wonders that exist all around us. Lets wake up our bodies for a joyful Shabbat morning as we walk and say hay to the goats! It is a radical form of meditative prayer in the forest.
This will be a combination of hiking and prayer. Create your own desert stories! Come play. Join us in the Great Hall for dinner. Travel back in time to Mitzrayim through hands on interactive activities, games, songs, and more! Stretch out your bodies with kid-led yoga or field games to get your body moving. We can make them for Pesach too! The title speaks for itself!
9 Global Justice Haggadot to Enrich your Passover Seder
Come play kickball with Camp Teva. We might find edible plants, we might find frog eggs, maybe a frog and salamander will greet us on the trail. We will read the book Tear Soup and follow her recipe. To season her soup Grandy adds memories like the good times and the bad times, the silly and the sad times. Find out in this super fun Topsy Turvy Bus tour. Are you Moses speaking to the burning bush?
Miriam leading the Israelites with dance and song? Or are you Pharaoh, stubborn and mighty in your palace? You will get to pick your bottle, cut it with a special glass cutter, sand it, and etch in a design of your choosing. This activity will be modified for age level. Join us to learn how to build a debris shelter from sticks and leaves to add to your own wilderness survival skills. Use your voice through art. What message do you want to publish?
Explore camp to find out what we can eat and what we can make into tea even in the earliest days of Spring. These will be some of the first seeds in the ground! We will go over safety and proper use of knives as tools. You can use them for this Shabbat and chag! Shabbos Rabbi Josh Alpert aka Mr. Join Mr. Shabbos on an interactive musical journey back to Egypt as we experience the exodus together. Puppets, live musical accompaniment, singing, dancing, and lots of laughs will round out this journey through time.
Come find out who they are and use science to test the health of Lake Miriam. Do you want to transform into Mr. We will act out our characters. There will be dancing, singing and great celebration for the Passover holiday! Join us as we walk up the mountain, learn to play camouflage rated best forest game 10 years running , and learn about the plants and animals that live in this forest. We feel angry, loving, disappointed and frustrated, among so many emotions — and it can be challenging to feel them all in our bodies! We'll do some interactive art, draw our bodies and dance around to learn how we can feel our feelings.
Bonus dance party included! Come to Arts and Crafts where we will have lots of options for you to make matzah covers, bird feeders, pine cone fairies, and just about anything you can imagine! Share a story about your creation. If you prefer to run around outside, we have lots of amazing games to play! By playing with food and mixing ordinary ingredients, we will all turn into chemists, make a big mess, and have a lot of fun! The goats and their babies love visitors and we love to visit them! After the goats, we walk to the farm to meet the chickens. Gather pine and lavender for havdalah!
We will dance and sing to greet the Shabbat Queen. Bring your favorite Shabbat songs and your dancing shoes or you can take off your shoes! Remember that dessert we made earlier? We get to eat it now! Lets wake up our bodies for a joyful Shabbat morning. We can even perform it for your parents tonight! Our afternoon will be filled with challenges to get your brain and body working together.
Come to the lake and see what is in store for us today! Thanks for playing and learning with us. See you next time! She supports and trains seasonal Teva educators and leads immersive, experiential education programs for youth and adults alike in the forests and fields of Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. Before coming to Hazon, Arielle worked as a baker, outdoor educator, farmer, healthy school food advocate, and youth job training mentor. Rebecca Bloomfield is the Director of Adamah. She recruits, teaches, and mentors Adamah fellows.
Her values of good food, strong community, and the connection to something-greater has brought her back to Adamah. She loves yoga, coffee shops, walking in the woods, and any time spent at her family cottage in Temagami, Ontario. A mentorship with Rav DovBer Pinson helped him focus and resolve this search, which in turn led him to Jerusalem to complete rabbinic ordination. As a meditator and certified somatics practitioner, Matti turns Torah teachings into penetrating questions for selfinvestigation, insight and embodiment. As a prayer-leader and songwriter, Matti has helped fill liturgy with ecstatic song.
He is a professional editor of Jewish books, and lives in Jerusalem with his wife Rachel Ravitz and their twin daughters. An urban farmer with a penchant for cultural kosher cuisine, she grows organic food at home and serves up healthy doses of Torah truth that feed the mind and nourish the Jewish soul. Esther Fink is a life and business strategist who digests difficult and complex theories and principles, helping clients convert their goals into clear and actionable results quickly.
Her writing has won awards and appears on blogs, websites and news sites. She has 3 children and lives in Clifton, NJ. Leah Gottfried is an award-winning director, writer, producer and actor, and founder of the production company Dignity Entertainment - a full-service production company dedicated to creating meaningful visual content. Leah teaches acting, improvisation and public speaking to teens and adults. Jon Greenberg received his Doctorate in agronomy from Cornell University. He is a frequent speaker at synagogues, schools, and botanical gardens.
Greenberg can be contacted at jon torahflora. As a Jewish spiritual educator for almost two decades, Rishe now presents at retreats, conferences, and artsand-music festivals, from Limmud to Burning Man, focusing on ancient and innovative spiritual practices that incorporate body and soul, especially Chassidic traditions of niggun, dance and immersive ritual. Rishe also produces embodied Shabbat experiences in Brooklyn, and shares teachings that empower feminist spirituality on Jewish websites as well as www.
Presenter Bios Rabbi Robert Grosberg received S'micha from Yeshiva University's Rabbi Yitzchak Elchanan Theological Seminary, While working in Corporate America for many decades, Rabbi Grosberg has continually given weekly shiurim in Talmud and Halachah to community members, and has delivered topical and unique lectures covering all aspects of Judaism for many years. She has been a leader and educator in the Jewish Community of Northern California for over twenty five years, serving as acting rabbi, a day-school educator, federation executive director and more.