Archive for the ‘Jewish’ Category

Testimonials from My Hebrew Students

December 29, 2013

“You’re a terrific teacher, and our students are very, very fortunate to be learning with you. You are really helping them learn.  So thank you!” — Rabbi Andrew Vogel, Temple Sinai, Brookline, MA

“Natasha is a treasure.” – attendee at NewCAJE, August 1, 2010

“I have studied Hebrew with four other people over the past ten years, and none of them match Natasha. I am just thrilled with the progress I am making.” — S.B., college professor of sociology

“Your teaching style and enthusiasm have stayed with me over the years. Now I study by myself, but memories of your class echo in my head. When I started studying with you, I didn’t know the Hebrew alphabet; now I understand most of the Torah portion each week. Thank you for the inspiration.” — A.D., professor of medicine

“This Hebrew class is the highest point of my week.  I look forward to it for the other six days.”  J.L., engineer

“You are an enthusiastic and caring teacher.” — S.L., rabbinical student

People who study with you that I have met along the way over the years are deeply grateful to you for what they learn and how they learn from you. — Rabbi Alan Ullman

“Thanks to your class, I’m more mindful in services and I am actually able to read the real text.” — R.K.

“You made me think, darn you!” — attendee at NewCAJE, August 1, 2010

“I was dead tired and could hardly focus on anything. But learning Hebrew with you woke me up. You could make a dead person learn Hebrew.” — F.P., physician

“This is the first time I got past the place where I always used to get stuck.”– C.C., homemaker

“Wow! I just went to a bar mitzvah and when it was time for the Torah reading, I sat back to enjoy the musical chanting, not expecting to understand anything. I was just sitting there listening when suddenly words and even whole sentences started jumping out at me. I realized, it’s a story and I understand it. Whoa! This is a whole new level! Thank you for that.” — R.L.

“I think there is some magical way that you communicate a knowledge of Hebrew directly.” — P.S., college mathematics instructor

“These days, Hebrew seems to be everywhere.” — J.L.,

“This class is like a cool lemonade on a hot sticky day.” — L.W., general contractor

“Great class. Great group. Great teacher!” — J.H., college English professor

“I have enjoyed your classes very much, as you are an excellent teacher.” — T.B.

“I was able to start reading things I couldn’t read before. I can keep up in services much more than before.” — C.C., Homemaker

“This class is exactly what I need.” — S.G.

“I just love this!” — M.W., rabbinic pastor

“I wanted to let you know that I very much enjoyed the classes. You are a great teacher.” — N.F.

“Now that I know what it (Torah text) means literally, I feel more confident in doing my own interpretation.” — M.A.

“I am thoroughly enjoying the class.” — N.F.

“I like your teaching style — friendly but very professional and focused on task.” — E.F.

“This class is a blessing!” — L.W., general contractor

“Thanks to your class, I am more inclined to try to understand Hebrew words when I read them in the siddur (prayer book).” — A.T.

“You are extremely knowledgeable and you encourage students to try without judgment about outcome.” — M.B.

“I appreciate your supportive and helpful manner. You encourage us without making us feel “dumb” if we make mistakes. You answer questions but stay with your lesson plan. I look forward to coming

“You’re so validating!” — S.D.

“Thanks for introducing me to the miracles of Hebrew!” — L.W.

“This is a whole new world!” — M.W., rabbinic pastor

“I got chills during High Holy Day services! For the first time, I was reading and singing and following along the actual Hebrew.” — L.W., newspaper editor

“I REALLY appreciated all the Hebrew you’ve taught me at High Holiday services this year. I was thrilled that I could read well enough to keep up with prayers I didn’t know or forgot since last year. And, I especially enjoyed understanding so many words and phrases throughout the liturgy; I could actually piece together chunks of what I was reading! It really expanded, and in some cases changed, my understanding of the prayers.” — R.L.

“You are a great, amazing teacher!” — D.P.

“I have enjoyed your dedication, depth of knowledge, patience and encouragement. I would love to continue.” — M.B.

“It was really fantastic to understand a lot of the prayers during the high holiday services. It really adds an extra layer of meaning to my prayers.” — L.W., general contractor

” I will never forget your launching me in learning Biblical Hebrew.” — J.H., golfer

“In the last 30 years I tried to learn Hebrew many times and always dropped out. I have now been learning Hebrew with Natasha for 3 years and I am loving it, really learning it for the first time. The siddur and the Torah have come alive for me.” — S.D., yoga teacher

“I have to tell you that you are such an incredible teacher!!” — S.K.

“During services one Shabbat I glanced at a Biblical selection in Hebrew and was astonished to realize I could understand the whole paragraph, not just a phrase or a sentence. Very exciting!

“I feel grateful to you for the way that you approach teaching, and I feel like I can ask anything and not feel stupid! So, thank you, especially for that.” — S.K.

“I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed your classes and how rewarding it is to be able to read the Torah in Hebrew!”

“Thank you for all the wonderful education.” — J.D.

“Many thanks. The classes were wonderful. Interesting, well prepared and taught. You are terrific.”

“Thanks so much for a fabulous class. I really enjoyed it and services really are nicer when I can follow along.”

“There’s something so special and interesting about Hebrew that it’s hard not to think about it regularly.”– S.M.

“I wish to thank you for the opportunity I had to study with you. You helped me move along my path!”

“This is such fun!” — M.W., rabbinic pastor

“I’ve been in many language classes and Natasha stands out as focussed, encouraging, knowledgeable, efficient, curious, and tolerant – way beyond the norm. Natasha is a terrific teacher!” — B.W., author

“Natasha’s classes are outstanding, and I will continue taking them as long as she offers them!” — I.K.

“For the first time in my life, I know where we are in the prayer book and where we’re going.” — S.B., college professor of sociology

“Thank you for your wonderful instruction.” — J.F.

“I’ve taken Hebrew classes for years and never enjoyed it, but this class is one I look forward to each week.”

“Thank you for all of your help in getting me to this point. I can (almost) understand most prayers that I read, and am finding translating Biblical passages (at least in the Torah portion!) easier each week.”

“My mother is so impressed with my ability to read Hebrew. Never too old to be happy if Mom’s impressed.” (from a 50+ – year-old student) — H.S.

I really enjoyed the classes and felt like I made enormous progress — I can actually follow along in services (and understand some of the words!). Thanks again for sharing your wisdom and joy.

“Natasha uses her creativity to integrate Jewish holidays, rituals, and current events with the requisite vocabulary and grammar. She always makes the content vivid and memorable.” — D.M.

“Natasha brings incredible enthusiasm to her teaching. She has motivated me … to make a real commitment to studying Hebrew.” — D.M.

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Thoreau’s Sukkah at Walden Pond

April 16, 2012

Looking for Thoreau’s Sukkah at Walden Pond?  Click here. 

We Were Slaves: Avadim Hayinu

March 30, 2012

Avadimhayinu2012-03-30_16-37-59_586-1

Passover: The Holiday That Comes with Its Own Text Book

March 30, 2012

Passover — “the holiday that comes with its own text book” —  starts on Friday night, April 6, 2012.    Here are a couple of my favorite haggadot:

Breslov Haggadah coverBreslov: The cover photograph of a close-up of matzah crumbs is what first caught my eye years ago when I was a guest at a friend’s seder.   I went out and got my own copy, which has occupied a special place on my haggadah shelf ever since.  The commentary and stories by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov will spark your imagination and your spirit.  This is not your average Maxwell House haggadah.


Holistic Haggadah coverHolistic:  As a guest at another friend’s seder I first heard this one before I saw it.  The hostess read aloud from one of its “holistic” commentaries and I was immediately hooked.   The suggested meditations really get to the heart of the matter.  I had to go get myself a copy of this one, too.  The yin/yang matzah on the cover is just the beginning.

Elul 15 – Full Moon, Full Reflection

August 26, 2010
Fullmoon

Image by Αλεξάνδρα via Flickr

Today is the full moon of Elul.

The full moon reflects the light of the sun.

Everything we see is a reflection of ourselves.  “You are what you see.  And you see what you are.”

It’s Day 16 in our 60-day spiritual journey, and we face some hard questions:

1. Do you recognize your own flaws when you see them in others?

2. Do you see the goodness around you?

The Thirteen Attributes of Divine Compassion radiate during Elul — even when we’re immersed in mundane activity.  It’s the power of Elul.

In exactly two weeks, at the new moon, the Jewish New Year begins, with Rosh haShanah, literally “the head of the year.”

Jewish New Year Cards – Quiz #1

August 24, 2010

NYcard1-frontThis pretty picture appears on the front of a typical greeting card you might send or receive for the Jewish New Year (in Hebrew: Rosh haShanah).

Quiz:  What are the images in this photograph?   What is the significance of each image?

(Come back soon for answers to this and upcoming quizzes about the Jewish New Year.)

Quotes along the Spiritual Journey: Elul 4

August 15, 2010

Elul 4

These are some of my favorite quotes from Rabbi Simon Jacobson, gleaned from his essay “The Truth Within,” for the fourth day of Elul.

ON RELIGION AND FREEDOM: If your experience of religion is not freeing, then you have fallen into a man-made trap.  Freedom is Divine; it cannot be human.

ON TRUTH: The truth resonates.  When we hear it, we know.

ON TEACHING: Great masters or teachers can’t give us anything we don’t already possess; they can help in one thing only — to open our own pathway to the truth within.

High Holidays for a CHANGE

August 4, 2010

“…rejuventate [your] High Holiday experience and discover the transformative resonance in this most profound and sophisticated of psycho-spiritual systems called the Jewish High Holiday season.” — Rabbi Simon Jacobson, Meaningful Life Center

How do you prepare for the Jewish New Year?  Do you

  • buy High-Holiday tickets?
  • say goodbye to summer and prepare for fall?
  • get your kids ready for school & after-school?

What about you? Your soul, your spirit, your life’s direction and meaning?

Now is your chance to make the changes you’ve been longing for: the approach of the High Holiday season offers the opportunity to actualize your dreams!

Join Natasha Shabat on Tuesday evening, August 10th — the eve of the New Moon — at 7:15 PM, to begin your journey.

WHEN: Tuesday, August 10, 2010, 7:15 – 8:45 PM

WHERE: Congregation Kerem Shalom, 659 Elm St., Concord, MA (www.keremshalom.org).

Cost: $10.

For more details, click here.

For more logistical INFORMATION and to REGISTER: Contact Rosalie Gerut at rosaliege@comcast.net or 978-460-1015.

Copies of the book 60 Days: A Spiritual Guide to the High Holidays, by Rabbi Simon Jacobson, will be available for purchase ($25) at the event.

Can’t make it on August 10 but still want to join the journey?

  • Request a recording of the event: Rosalie Gerut (rosaliege@comcast.net or 978-460-1015)
  • Send email message to Natasha Shabat to find out about joining others for next steps in the journey.  Subject line: I want to join the journey.
  • Subscribe to free daily emails about the 60 Days from the Meaningful Life Center
  • Buy the book 60 Days (see above) at your local book store or online (Amazon, MLC, etc.)
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Study the SheheHeyanu Blessing with Natasha at NewCAJE 2010, August 1, 2:00 PM

August 1, 2010

August 1, 2010, 2:00-3:30 PM, Room 113

Gann Academy
333 Forest St.
Waltham, MA 02452

SheheHeyanu Word Play: Translation by (Insert Your Name Here)

Session Goals

1) Appreciate this familiar blessing in a brand-new light.

2) Be empowered to translate Hebrew texts themselves and teach this skill to others.

3) Take home fun new methods for understanding and teaching Hebrew grammar principles.

Do you understand every word of the SheheHeyanu? In this interactive workshop we’ll examine the familiar blessing up close, study three Hebrew verbs from its text, and find deeper understanding of Jewish gratitude for “Being Here Now.”  Apply innovative techniques learned here to explore the nuances of this and other Hebrew blessings and texts.

We’ll discuss the Art of Translation and apply innovative techniques for exploring the nuances of this and other Hebrew texts.

Tu biShvat — Birthday of the Trees

January 22, 2010

castor bean

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