By Liza Moskowitz

I wrote a text study article for the June newsletter, “Text Study – It’s easy as 1, 2, 3”, where I broke down 3 levels of incorporating Jewish text into MHWOW programming. Writing the article was challenging, but, slowly but surely, I have been using Sefaria to create my own text study sheets – that’s Level 3!

In October, I created a text study sheet for a MHWOW program at the North American Training Conference to frame how we can be students and teachers to one another. And now, we have two text study sheets prepared with different Hanukkah texts.  

Light One Candle: A Hanukkah Text Study

Light One Candle focuses on the light created by candles and the mitzvot in celebrating Hanukkah. Get ready to talk about your own miracles, why light appears in Jewish text from (literally) the very beginning, and possible sacrifices needed to make Hanukkah happen.

Spread the Light: A Hanukkah Text Study

Did you know there is debate whether you start with lighting all 8 candles and decreasing each night or you start with 1 and increase? Learn more about Shammai and Hillel’s disagreement and pirsumei nisa – publicizing the Hanukkah miracle.

Each text study has conversation questions embedded for you to use in your facilitation and conversation. Are you stuck in how to make the discussion happen? Try these two techniques.

Havruta Study

If you have a larger group for your text study, havruta study can be very successful. Havruta is when a larger group is broken up into pairs, and the pair works together to understand the meaning of the text. If you have a group who is hesitant because this might be their first text study, splitting them up might provide comfort in only thinking out loud to one other person.

If you would like to bring the group back together at the end for a closing conversation, be sure to let your participants know so they can share the most interesting part of their learning. You never know where the conversation will take you.

Understand. Interpret. Apply.

Breaking down texts into 3 steps makes the discussion more manageable.

  1. Understand – What is the text saying? What don’t you understand? What questions do you have?
  2. Interpret – What does the text mean? Why is this text significant? Do you agree or disagree with the text?  
  3. Apply – How could the themes or concepts apply to other Jewish stories? Is this relevant in your life?

Whether you choose to use text as a mini-learning session or you gather friends over latkes and babka, the MHWOW team hopes you use Hanukkah as a time to reflect on the light and miracles in your life.

-Liza Moskowitz