First Grade Siddur Party

For days, the excitement was building. The nine members of “Kitah Aleph” were buzzing with excitement. They couldn’t believe they were about to reach such a milestone in Jewish life. They had finished their first Hebrew reader, and had mastered pronouncing even the most complicated words in Hebrew. That meant they were each ready to receive their next “reader” – an actual Siddur, or Hebrew prayerbook, of their very own.

Like the Jews receiving the Torah on Mt. Sinai, the children beamed as they each walked up to the front of the classroom on the morning of 20 Teves (Jan. 20th) to receive their Siddurs (or, "siddurim" in Hebrew). For the rest of the day, the children could not be parted from their new Siddurs. They clung to them, and quietly read the words inside to themselves (even while the Morah was trying to teach something else!). Unlike adults, who tend to be calmer about spiritual matters, these nine little souls felt on some level the truth of what was happening. They were receiving no mere book, but the gateway to Heaven.

The children heard a moving story from Executive Director Rabbi Dan Rodkin, who received the identical Siddur as his first prayerbook in Russia. In honor of the occasion, the children also put on a brief play they wrote themselves about the soul’s mission in this world, and they enjoyed a delicious cake in the shape of a siddur.