I attended first grade at Blackberry Lane Elementary in St. Louis. It had a fair number of Jewish students, including me. I remember the exploits of Dick and Jane, and fumbling with addition and its arch nemesis, subtraction.
For religious instruction, I went to Shaare Emeth, a huge Reform Jewish synagogue on Delmar and Trinity.
Our rabbi took out a large velvet-covered scroll on Friday nights and the High Holidays. As we stood, the silver ornaments shivered their lovely tinkling accompaniment.
My parents raised me to be an ethical human being. They succeeded. But Torah was not part of the equation at least not in the first grade.
For Shavuot, the Intermountain Jewish News contacted first-grade teachers at Denvers three Jewish day schools to ask their students what the Torah means to them, and how they use it in daily life.
Art Linkletter always maintained that, Kids say the darndest things.
They still do with distinctive insight, commitment and heart.
Denver Academy of Torah submitted by first-grade teachers Debbie Foster, Sheindy Brackman and Rebekah Kochavi.
Nogah Baror: I would use it. It is the most specialist thing on the earth. Its really, really holy. I study it. If I was sick, I would hold it.
Levi Bean: They use a special stick to read the Torah. It teaches me to like people and be nice to them.
Neshamah Buschman-Perkins: I use the Torah as much as I can. I try to keep as many mitzvahs as I can. I really love the mitzvah of visiting my friends.
Ezra Fischer: We read the 5 books. Our Chumash teaches us the Torah.
Eliana Fishman: It means that Hashem is going to be with us and learn mitzvot. I use it to learn parshot and the 10 Commandments.
Gavi Fox: The Torah means like its Hashems book. It says to do mitzvot and it says the parsha.
Naomi Friedman: Its something really holy to us. It says we should respect our parents. It shows that our parents really love us.
Avigayil Goldfeder: We dont fight. We help each other. We eat chicken soup on Shabbat.
Dov Hanssen: It tells me everything I should do to help the world. I feel like G-d and the Torah is like one person my best friend who helps me.
Harel Hirsch: Safeness, kinda. Laws that keep us good.
Samuel Kaufman: I like the Torah because it helps us do stuff right.
Moshe Khalepari: There are stories. I do mitzvahs. I help my mom do the laundry.
Elinoa Loewenthal: Its nice that G-d gave it to us. We need to be nice to each other. Respect each other. Respect the Torah.
Isaac Makovsky: It means life. It means what I can do and what I can learn. I learn holiness, how to be really nice and mitzvahs.
Adira Margulies: It means a lot. It makes me feel happy. I read out of it, like in a chumash.
Yael Polotsky: My life. It teaches me what to do and not to be mean.
Elianna Rabinovitz-Randone: It means to me to be good. We use it to show people, and people study it.
Samy Rotenberg: You can read it. We learn how to read to Torah. We use it in our life because we listen.
Zecharia Steinberg: Torah is like holy. You cant slip and drop it or you have to fast for 40 or 49 days.
Akiva Sunshine: It teaches us to be good people. I help people.
Hillel Academy submitted by first-grade teacher Aviva Zussman.
Daniel Schweitzer: Its the most importantest thing in the whole world.
Miri Gertz and Miriam Tema Chernitzky: Torah is important and we see it when we do mitzvahs.
Yaakov Hoffman: If we didnt learn Torah, the sky would start falling!
Denver Jewish Day School submitted by teachers Laura Thomas, Leah Press, Esti Applebaum and Carole Rich.
Dina Kornbluth: It means it is very important. It has lots ?of prayers that helps people pray to G-d. It helps me pray if I need help.
Josh Weinstein: It teaches me how to pray and what not to do and what to do.
Shira Linkow: It means Im Jewish. I use it to pray out of and learn the parsha.
Geddy Jackson: It makes me feel good because it is the very holy thing of Jews. Since it is made from animal skin you cant touch it. Youll have to write another one. You need to use a stick to point to the words to make it easier to read.
Malka Engbar: It means the Jews are a community. We pray, we study Hebrew, we learn the parsha.
Avi Friedman: It means the Jews are free. It means blessings to me. It means Jerusalem is a safe place. I use it to construct me so I can be Jewish.
Copyright © 2011 by the Intermountain Jewish News