Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Toolbox of Faith: A Program That Helps Children Discover the Uses of Faith

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"Hava Nagila" and the Hora

The song, "Hava Nagila," and the dance, the hora, are common at Jewish wedding receptions and other celebrations. Often played in the klezmer style of music, which originated among Jews of Eastern Europe, "Hava Nagila" also appears across musical genres including surf rock, punk rock, and Caribbean music. Tapes and/or CDs including this song are usually available from a public library.

You can hear "Hava Nagila," read a bit of its history, and see sheet music and transliterated Hebrew lyrics online. On another website, hear Harry Belafonte sing "Hava Nagila." Hear "Hava Nagila" and see a group of people dancing a hora on the YouTube website ("Israeli Dance Hava Nagila")

"Miriam's Song"

The chorus to "Miriam's Song" by composer Debbie Friedman begins with these words:

And the women dancing with their timbrels

Followed Miriam as she sang her song

Find the complete lyrics and hear "Miriam's Song" online, on the website.

Klezmer and Other Jewish Music

Originating during the Jewish diaspora in Eastern Europe, klezmer was the traditional music played for dancing at weddings and other celebrations. Modern klezmer music is characterized by violin, flute, clarinet and percussion blended with a certain amount of dissonant tones and minor chords.

Hear clips of the band, Dobe Ressler and Di Bostoner Klezmer online. Another band is the award-winning Klezmatics. There is good dance music on most of their releases. The track, "Makht Oyf (Open Up)," on the CD, Rise Up, is features a bit of silliness with pops, squeaks and repetitions which would appeal to children. Another fast tune on that CD is "Kats Un Moyz (Cat and Mouse)."

The Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack might be another source for Jewish dance music, particularly the song "L'Chaim (To Life!)" or the wedding music.

Assess Your Own Resiliency

On the Resiliency in Action website, take a quiz to assess the resiliency-building conditions present in your life. From the website:

Resiliency is the ability to spring back from and successfully adapt to adversity. An increasing body of research from the fields of psychology, psychiatry, and sociology is showing that most people—including young people—can bounce back from risks, stress, crises, and trauma and experience life success.

Our favorite definition of resiliency, in fact, was given by a 15-year-old high school student who, after a semester of resiliency training, described resiliency as "Bouncing back from problems and stuff with more power and more smarts."

The Prince of Egypt — the Movie

A 1998 animated DreamWorks film, The Prince of Egypt, tells the Biblical story of Moses and the Hebrews' exodus from Egypt. In a sermon given January 15, 1999, Rabbi Barry H. Block analyzes the film's version of the story, including its portrayal of Miriam and other women. Read Rabbi Block's sermon on his website.

Miriam the Prophet

The website, Judaism 101, offers concise descriptions of the siblings Miriam, Aaron and Moses, based on information about them in Hebrew scripture and a variety of sometimes contradictory stories that have been added since.

Online, watch a Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly (PBS) episode from April 11, 2003. Reporter Kim Lawton visited a feminist Passover seder, where particular attention was paid to Miriam's role in the Exodus story. You will also hear a bit of the Debbie Friedman song, "Miriam and the Women." Here is an excerpt from the segment transcript:

Rabbi Joy Levitt: She [Miriam] was a source of great energy, power, comfort, and nourishment to the Israelites as they made their way out of Egypt.

Kim Lawton: In the traditional Seder, there is a cup of wine for the Prophet Elijah, who many Jews believe will herald the Messianic Age. In this meal, there's also Miriam's Cup, which is filled with water.

Rabbi Levitt: I like to think of Elijah's cup as the cup that symbolizes the future, whereas I think Miriam's cup really symbolizes the present. We wait for Elijah, but we work with Miriam.

Kim Lawton: According to the Bible story, Miriam celebrated the exodus from Egypt with singing, dancing, and tambourine playing — a hallmark of every feminist Seder.

W Mitchell

"It's not what happens to you. It's what you do about it." That is the message of W Mitchell, an inspirational speaker. Mitchell had a motorcycle accident that left him burned over 65% of his body, including his face and fingers. After four years of recovery, he was in a plane crash and became paralyzed from the waist down. Visit his website to learn more and find quotations from him. You may wish to start with a newspaper article about a 2002 presentation he gave at a Santa Barbara, California, school.