Rabbi Ami Monson
Who doesn't love to argue? Who has experience arguing respectively, and at a certain point agreeing to disagree? Argumentation and debate are the lifeblood of Judaism; in fact, our ancestors never shied from arguing with God or other sources of authority when they felt justice and truth demanded it. Judaism's Great Debates aims to reawaken that spirit in the lives of young Jews today.
This book we will be using teaches students to analyze the value conflict at the core of each historic debate, and more importantly, it prepares them to apply Jewish values to similar conflicts in our society. You and your fellow classmates will serve as the judge, jury, defender and prosecutor as we decide whose argument is more convincing and why?
Jews & Entertainment
Rabbi Ami Monson
So many times in life we and our parents have responded to a news article, social media post, or t.v report about a famous person in sports and entertainment saying, "Wow, I didn't know that they were Jewish?" This course will introduce you to and help you forge your own opinions and ideas about some of the best Jewish Athletes and Entertainers in Jewish history. You will be presented with insight into the biographies of some of the most famous people combined with analyzing their moral and ethical behavior as role models. We will use Jewish text to help bring light to the question of how being Jewish makes these athletes and entertainers different from secular athletes and entertainers? We will be looking at Professional, amateur, collegiate, and perhaps even high school upcoming athletes as well as entertainers over the last 50+ years.
The 100 Year War: The Arab-Israeli Conflict
We were all transfixed by the images coming out of Israel in May 2021, when more than 4300 missiles were launched from Gaza by Palestinian militants from Hamas, targeting civilian areas of Israel, and when Israel responded by bombing Hamas targets in Gaza. While we were deeply saddened by the suffering and destruction in both Israel and Gaza, we Jews were challenged at school, by our friends, and by social media, by accusations blaming Israel, portraying Israel as the aggressor – establishing Israel as a pariah in the eyes of many. Israel has once again been cast as a nation to be boycotted (even by Ben and Jerrys!). What is clear is that those making such accusations are not at all familiar with the overriding history and fundamentals of this ongoing conflict – a 100 Years’ War, of which the events of May 2021 was just the latest chapter. If you would like to get the “straight-up” on the historical background of the conflict, cut through the opinion and emotions which cloud the story of two peoples struggling for control of one land (a Holy Land, at that) and discuss what’s in store for Israel, the Palestinians and other neighboring Arab countries in the future, this might be the Mifgash class for you! Be prepared to share and discuss your thoughts and experiences!
Creation, Collage, Coils of Clay, and Chamsas
In the beginning of Mifgash we will be inspired by our creation story to create a colorful and meaningful painted canvas. Sharpen your glass cutting skills or join us to learn how to score and cut glass so you can try the technique of glass fusing. Beautiful Judaica can be created cutting and joining glass pieces by fusing in a kiln. Another fun material is alcohol inks. These inks dry on non-porous materials. We will use these inks to add a colorful punch to Yupo paper and thin gauge aluminum. Enjoy the relaxing and malleable medium of clay. We will explore how to manipulate clay.
In Rivi's Kitchen (at Ohav)
Join me for a culinary experience that will include both cooking and tasting of traditional and unqiue Israeli foods. In this class you will "travel" to and experience the rich and wide variety & vibrancy of Israeli cuisine. Together we will learn to prepare a variety of the popular and authentic Israeli dishes and visit the Shuk, (the Israeli marketplace), the heart of Israeli kitchen where local spice blends such as za'atar show up in falafel, hummus, shakshouka, and couscous. Israeli fare is a melting pot of regional dishes. In Israeli cooking you will find Mizrahi, Sephardic, and Ashkenazi styles. Classic Mediterranean ingredients mingle with foods traditionally included in other Middle Eastern cuisines. Israeli cuisine is all about Israel's people and their journeys. So if you love to cook and want to learn how, if you love to eat and want delicious food every Sunday evening, if you want to learn about Israeli culture, and Hebrew, here’s your chance! Come with me to Rivi's kitchen (at Ohav).
Jews in the News
Welcome to the Fall 2021 Semester of Mifgash! As we return, the COVID pandemic is still with us - raising serious questions about mask and vaccine mandates, about balancing the interests and safety of our community and our individual freedoms, and even challenging the political and social fabric of our society. We Americans continue to be divided on political lines, with competing visions of the future, unable to agree on anything related to the January 6, 2021, occupation of the US Capitol, a trauma which haunts our nation. Lest we focus only on issues here at home, there’s also a new government in Israel, on shaky political ground, which doesn’t include Bibi Netanyahu as Prime Minister for the first time since 2009…Imagine that! And we’ve only just scratched the surface of what challenges the Fall of 2021 might present in these very complicated times. If you think you would enjoy discussing, sharing and debating your views on current issues in a fun and lively class with your friends at Mifgash, please join our class! We encourage our Mifgash students to suggest class topics, to question and even challenge the teacher. It’s what Mifgash and the Jewish way of learning are all about!