Page F4 • The Jewish Press • Friday, April 8, 2016
FAMILY ISSUES Feuerman ables in the situation”). In addition, the Dor Revi’i states that one who doesn’t want to corrupt the truth must come to the conclusion that the reason why the Oral Torah could not be written down was to prevent tying the hands of subsequent sages in each generation. This oral process would allow the Torah to remain eternal.
For each generation’s change in environmental circumstances and moral state requires rulings that are in accordance with those needs, be they enactments of laws or corrective or preventive measures. This is also why in the blessings recited over the Torah we refer to the Torah as the Torah of truth and eternal life. The Torah of truth refers to the Written Torah, as it is static and unalterable. The Oral Torah is represented by the words “eternal life,” as it is not a fixed and absolute truth, but a truth that comes through the understanding and agreement of the halachic au-
thorities of that particular generation. This is why it is alive and dynamic… In order to give authority to the sages of each generation, and so as not to have the people break up into different sects, the Torah provided the laws of zaken mamreh (a rebellious sage). The point, as explains Sefer Ha-Chinuch, is so that even if the Sanhedrin rules incorrectly, it is forbidden to follow one’s own opinion. Better to have one mistaken halacha than to have the Jewish people dissolve into chaos and disorder…
who reads for pleasure.
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Hebrew Reading and Confidence Nancy Newman has pointed out that with reading, we need to make sure that the focus is on pleasure. Reading should be fun and nurturing. Children tire easily when tasked with work that has become rote and monotonous. Recall the long-suffering expression on your child’s face, the sagging shoulders and half-closed eyes that signify profound exhaustion when he is faced with rows of spelling words to copy or information to memorize. Kriah teachers continually search for ways to combat tedium and monotony in reading practice. Most of us have found that when we make learning to read enjoyable and stimulating, children approach the subject eagerly. In essence, we “lure” our young students into doing the necessary brainwork by loading the lesson with incentive and pleasure. Through stories, games, song and skits, charts audiovisual aids, blackboard activities, posters and charts, we engage their hearts and minds.
moving on until every single child has attained complete mastery. Most kriah teachers rise to the challenge with an assortment of popular strategies. • In some classrooms, each nekudah name and sound is introduced with a dramatic story and follow-up activities that imprint the relevant information in the children’s minds. • Some kriah teachers find it especially effective to create tactile-kinesthetic activities in which the children shape osiyos and nekudos out of clay, trace them in sand, or use “sky-writing” to reinforce their skills. • A popular idea is to use “nekudah sticks” shaped like large lollipops that feature a nekudah on one side and a picture corresponding to the nekudah’s initial sound on the flip side. Games and activities requiring the manipulation of these “nekudah sticks” reinforce “name-and-sound” identification. • As a variation of this idea, “nekudos men” are drawn with faces that correspond (approximately) to the nekudah’s sound. Children listen to stories in which the respective vowel sounds are enunciated again and again within the story’s context.
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words all the time with your child, even if he can’t speak himself. Encourage questions, give detailed answers, tell him about what you are doing and why you are doing it (“I’m buying four apples because later we are going to make apple pie. One, two, three, four. Did you know that not a lot of words rhyme with apple, but that nothing rhymes with orange? Can you think of anything that rhymes with apple? How about Snapple or grapple?”). Giving your child a rich vocabulary, from birth, is essential for later reading experiences. 2. Encourage free play and fiercely protect free time. Children use their brain the most when they are engaged in free play. Try not to overschedule your kids – leave a few afternoons a week empty so that your child can play at home. When he gets into the groove of creating his own fun on his own time, his imagination will soar. And, with that imagination, comes problem-solving skills and gumption. As much as weather permits, you should also encourage outdoor play and physical hobbies. These activities strengthen body and mind. 3. Read to your child and expand how, when and what you read aloud. Allow reading to be something enjoyable and fun. Read to your child and let him see you reading. Create opportunities for cuddle time and discussion around the book. When your child gains pleasure from reading, he will be more likely to associate reading with enjoyment in the future. 4. Support and motivate your new reader and give extra support to your struggling reader. It’s a great idea to set aside a space in your home that is a “reading nest” – a cozy chair or couch that is a quiet space for reading and discussion. Even when your child successfully reads on his own, continue reading to him and have him read aloud to you so that you can give feedback. 5. Use – don’t abuse – technology and balance your child’s diet of fun. Don’t let technology take over your house; keep it out of your child’s bedroom. Make sure that your child has time to rest and dream – this is essential for reading growth. Think about your own use of technology and be a role model
Navigating Nekudos Nowhere is this “campaign to engage” more important than in the teaching of nekudos – one of the early milestones of kriah instruction that pose difficulty for many children. Unlike English vowels that “say their own names,” a Hebrew vowel comes with a name and a sound that bear no obvious correlation to each other. How does patach correspond with ah? What does segol have to do with eh? To a child’s mind, there is no apparent rhyme or reason here. In addition, Hebrew nekudos largely consist of identical-looking dots. Children are asked to master these confusing arrangements of dots, learn both their names and sound, and remember to use only the sound, not the name, when learning to read. In addition, to the trained ear, uh, ah, eh and ih may be easy to distinguish, but to many five-year olds, these nekudos sound hopelessly alike. Is it any wonder that it takes some children many weeks, if not months, to master the differences between kamatz, patach, segol and shevah? Vowel-fluency is so vital for reading success that kriah experts advise against “turning the page” and
Healthy Sleeping Tips For Young Children (StatePoint) “Ask most parents and one of their top priorities is for both kids and parents to get more sleep,” says Dr. Deena Blanchard, a partner at Premier Pediatrics in NYC. With that in mind, Blanchard is offering parents the following tips. • At around six to eight weeks of age, infants start to develop circadian rhythms. At this point, create a consistent routine before bedtime, such as dimming lights. Your baby will start to pick up on these habits as sleep cues. • For safety, the crib should be free of bumpers, blankets, pillows, wedges and stuffed animals. • Once your little one rolls over, make sure that she is no longer swaddled. Also, although it’s always best to put your baby on her back to sleep, once she
rolls over, it’s not necessary to go into the room and flip her onto her back. Likewise, when your child starts to pull to stand, make sure the crib mattress is adjusted to the lowest level and there are no nearby items she can pull into the crib. • Go green. Choose paint, furniture and a mattress for your child’s bedroom that are free of harmful chemicals. Read labels carefully. Conventional and even organic mattresses typically have waterproof covers that contain PVCs that children breathe in all night. However, a mattress made from fibers woven to create air pockets offers maximum breathability. • Keep bedding clean and avoid build-up of bacteria or mold. Wash linens regularly and seek out a washable mattress.
Make It Safe To Be Wrong In my kriah workshops, I urge teachers to create a confidence-building environment where a child feels safe enough to risk making mistakes. Eliminate the dread of failure by creating abundant opportunities for surefire success. The wonderful thing about academic success is its built-in power to generate the confidence to tackle ever more daunting challenges, leading to even greater success. What kind of motivation induces children to make headway in a subject that demands more mental energy and concentration than they may be ready to give? Variations of some all-time children’s favorites such as treasure hunts, musical chairs and bingo prompt children to harness the full range of their cognitive abilities. All of these activities can be adapted to incorporate reading drills within the context of the game. Even better, all have the key advantage of allowing multiple winners! Parents and teachers can work together to help students read in both English and Hebrew. Through books, let’s get those kids going on the imaginary adventures Robert Louis Stevenson describes on the sea, land, and air!
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