Elective Updates

Song Parody Elective with Morah Molly

October 11, 2015

In today’s class, we studied a text from the Mishnah, the oral tradition. This text is found on page 88 of the Mishkan T’filah, the prayerbook we use at Rodef Shalom, and we say it most Saturday mornings. Below is the text, from a different prayerbook, that has a line-by-line translation.

As you’ll see and hear, we set this message and this text to the tune of “Cheerleader.” We sang most of the items in English, but we ended with the first and last lines. The first line, Eilu d’varim she-ein lahem shi-ur, means “These are things that have no measure.” The last line, V’talmud Torah keNeged kulam, means “And studying Torah equals them all.”


When I need motivation

My one solution is these things

‘Cause they stand strong (yeah yeah)

Honor mother and my father

Invite a guest, no bother

All these acts of lovingkindness

We’re helping to make peace

And we say:

Pray with sincerity

Go and study daily

Visit sick, comfort mourners

And rejoice at weddings, cause

Eilu d’varim she-ein laHem shi-ur

V’talmud Torah keNeged kulam.

Eilu d’varim she-ein laHem shi-ur

V’talmud Torah keNeged kulam.

October 4, 2015

Today in our class we talked about Simchat Torah. We celebrate the end of one cycle of reading and the beginning of the next. The first word in the torah is “B’reisheet” which means “in the beginning” and comes from the same root as “rosh,” head,” and Rosh Hashanah is the head of the year.

We looked at the very end of D’varim, our last book of the Torah, where Moses looks at the Promised Land but never sees it. The very last word of the torah is “Yisraeil”

We celebrate the Torah on Simchat Torah and we need to rewind all of our scrolls. At consecration for our newest religious school students, we saw this happen!

I picked today’s song because of the line “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” We did get to sing and record some of this, but we will clean it up next time.

It’s a song that you all may know better than your kids, but I couldn’t resist that tagline. I have attached the audio, and here are the lyrics:

(to the tune of “Closing Time” by Semisonic)

Closing time–open up the ark and celebrate Torah today

Closing time–turn all of the scrolls for aliyot that we all want to say

Closing time–one last call for Moses since he hit the rock out of fear

Closing time–Joshua takes over and he starts right here

I love Torah–I can read it now (3x) read it now….

Closing time–time for you to learn about the torah that is to come

Closing time–this book will be open so that everyone can read some

So gather up your family, come and pray and study, we hope you will bring a friend

Closing time–every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

I love Torah–I can read it now (3x) read it now….

September 20, 2015

Today in our class we learned about song parody, what it is, and some ways to do it. Then we talked about Yom Kippur, and your students are very knowledgeable! We examined the end of “U’netaneh Tokef” from Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services, the section where we talk about the day of judgement. Specifically, we read the ending section, that on Rosh Hashanah it is written and on Yom Kippur it is sealed. The ending of that section says that “T’shuvah, T’filah, and Tzedakah” (repentance, prayer and charity), can avert the severe decree. We read a paragraph by Rabbi Laura Geller about “Your Book Of Life” that doesn’t begin when you are born but is influenced by the choices that others make for you. Every year we get the chance to write and rewrite our own stories.

Then we took everything we had discussed and started a song parody using Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.”

I will compile the work we did and send it to you. I told the students that I picked this song because of the tag line “…and I’ll write your name.” The kids were great at picking parts of the lyrics that made sense to keep and what needed to be changed. Every student was contributing and was engaged in the process. You’ll love what they’ve done so far!

Next time we get together for this class, which will be in 2 weeks due to the Great Race, we will do a song about Simchat Torah. I haven’t chosen a song yet, so if anyone has ideas, please email me! I’d like to record next time, too.

Shavua Tov!

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