It is fascinating to find out what is on the minds of fifth and sixth graders. During the week I do some tutoring over at a religious institution This past week, I was with fifth and sixth graders. One of the assignments they had to do was to work in groups, pick a prayer and talk about the meaning of that prayer. For this assignment, it was not to actually talking about the meaning of the prayer but rather what the prayer meant to them.
Some of the students just were not into the type of assignment. Many of them, however, were interested and excited. Some of the students were poetic in there presentation. Some of them had some deep philosophical understandings of the prayers.
While I believe it is important to get students to shul, often times one of the problems is they do not understand the Hebrew prayers (This can be true of many adults as well). Usually it is due to the fact that people don’t bother to look at the translation of the prayer but sometimes it can occur because the English translation is not very good.
Taking a moment to actually stop and consider what you are saying when reciting prayers is, I think, a great idea. I think it makes a lot of sense for kids and it makes a lot of sense for adults. It can helps us have a better understanding of… A Jewish Thought!