Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Passover Haggadah | Jewish Community | Appointed Time | Four Sons

The Torah presents the Exodus from Egypt as the foundational experience of the Jewish nation and the Passover sacrifice as the necessary precondition to the Exodus.  That experience is represented in the Torah as an attempt to build an inclusive community.  As ritually impure members of the desert generation said to Moses upon realizing that they could not participate in the Passover offering, Lama nigra? ("Why should we be barred from bringing God's sacrifice at its appointed time together with the People of Israel?") (Num. 9:7).  The implication is that exclusion from the Passover ritual effectively means exclusion from the community.

Diversity is celebrated at the Passover Seder, where four children ("four sons") who represent different personalties in the Jewish community are all present and engaged in relating the meaning of the Seder.  Such is the message of inclusiveness of the Passover Haggadah.  The sons our Rabbis refer to as 'wicked' states: "What is this ritual to you?"  By using the word "you" rather than "us" he argues against his own inclusion in the Jewish community at the foundational experience of the Passover Seder. The Passover Haggadah objects to that interpretation because it sees any Jew whose ancestors were part of the Exodus from Egypt, should view himself (or herself) as part of the Jewish community.

In our Torah Trope software, we seek to make every Jew feels welcome and understood. We teach according to four different learning styles so that we can reach each child.  We focus on making a very special ritual, the Bar Mitzvah or the Bat Mitzvah ceremony a time to connect with the timeless Jewish community and to participate in its future.

Please comment below to share how the Passover Seder brings you closer to your Jewish community.

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Preview of upcoming blog post: "אֲרַמִּי֙ אֹבֵ֣ד אָבִ֔י | Role of Oral Tradition in Biblical Text"

Topics: Passover, Haggadah, Jewish Community, Appointed Time, Four Sons, Seder, Bar Mitzvah, Bat Mitzvah, Bnai Mitzvah, Mitzvah Bar, Mitzvah Bat, Hebrew, Torah, Torah Trope, Trope Torah, Cantillation

Monday, April 11, 2011

“The Four Sons” of the Passover Seder have a Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah

The wise son knows Hebrew, reads well, but  wants to understand the connection between the cantillation and the words of the Torah

This son is not wicked, but apathetic.  His Bar/Bat Mitzvah is deciphering a foreign language; an embarrassing public performance.  The text has no meaning

The simple son is overwhelmed with chanting, intonation, Hebrew text, and the meaning of his Torah portion.  But he has interest

The son with minimal Judaic exposure feels lost and is unable to ask.  He wants to understand, but it is all so new to him

Will Bar Mitzvahs and Bat Mitzvahs be the Culmination of Jewish Learning?

Jewish identity is in crisis.  Over 52% of Jewish women marry non-Jews.  Non-Jewish parents struggle to raise a Jewish child.  The pinnacle experience for Jewish youth is the Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah.  Our technology makes the learning interactive, allows for live distance-based support and feedback, enables teaching the learning disabled, and for 10%-15% of children who would have left us, leads to their remaining part of the Jewish community. Our platform fits variety of niche learning markets.

A Platform to Teach Bar Mitzvah Lessons and Bat Mitzvah Lessons

A Platform to Teach Bar/Bat Mitzvah Lessons,  
 Catering to Learning Styles of “the Four Sons”

With modules to serve Students with
Attention Deficit Disorder/Dyslexia

The Singing Torah
Embracing technology, re-engaging youth

Jonathan Stiebel Chief Executive Officer: Can sight read a Torah portion from the Torah scroll without warning with few mistakes – and understands challenges of those who can’t. He sees the greater meaning that comes with understanding the words and the intonation.

Jonathan Stiebel – Jonathan is our Chief Executive Officer & Chief Scientist.   An entrepreneur with startup experience, in high growth startup environments, both in the U.S. and Israel, he has built teams from both Harvard Business School and MIT and was a semifinalist in prestigious MIT $100k Business Plan Competition.  Our business plan for a broader market placed as a distinguished finalist at Harvard Business School. He is well respected by Tel Aviv University’s Bible faculty. He studied the Hebrew Bible with modern students of Rabbi Akiva in elite Israeli Hesder Yeshivot.  Jonathan can sight read a Torah portion from the Torah scroll without warning with few mistakes – and understands challenges of those who can’t.  He sees the greater meaning that comes with understanding the words and the intonation.  Jonathan studied Speech Recognition and earned a Master of Computer Science degree from the Weizmann Institute in Rechovot. His vision is to transform Jewish Education in North America, making Torah reading easy to learn for anyone who can use the internet.

Norman Abramovitz Chief Software Architect: He teaches Bar/Bat Mitzvah students as well as post Bar/Bat Mitzvah students. He serves as Vice President of Education for Congregation Beth David.

Norman Abramovitz – Norm is our Chief Software Architect & Chief Software Developer.  Norm was a member of Oracle’s early software development team that wrote the first commercial version of Oracle. He was instrumental in developing reliable, scalable, and predictable software at Oracle and performed an important role in bringing the first stable version to market. Norm has been a partner in a software consulting business with an excellent reputation for quality throughout Silicon Valley, for over 15 years. He teaches Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah students as well as post Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah students. He serves as Vice President of Education for Congregation Beth David. He studied Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Champagne Urbana.  He is excited to write software to transform Bar Mitzvah Lessons and Bat Mitzvah Lessons.

David Rabinovitz Chief Financial Officer: Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation was a painful experience; he struggled to memorize the trope and Torah portion. He regrets not being able to read Hebrew.

David Rabinovitz – David is our Chief Financial Officer.  Challenged by Attention Deficit Disorder, David’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation was a painful experience; he struggled to memorize the trope and Torah portion. He regrets not being able to read Hebrew.  As an adult, David has extensive experience pitching deals to investors, and accepting selected deals, based on deeply understanding the value proposition that he offers and receives.  When working in financial services, David had a deep rolodex of places where he could place a deal – he knew which investor would like which deal. He had a reputation for quality that earned him extensive long-term relationships, which he passed along as part of the sale of his business. David earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Northeastern University and MBA from Babson College.  He has 25 years of management and finance experience.  He wishes that he had the opportunity to learn his Bar Mitzvah portion using our software as it directly addresses his learning challenges and those of others, and sees great potential for our innovative Bar Mitzvah tutoring software that caters to differing learning styles and learning challenges.