Religion & Beliefs

The Hebrew School Feeling

When we set the clocks back an hour, I’m always reminded of my years in Hebrew school Read More

By / November 6, 2013

I associate setting back the clock with Hebrew school. I call it the “Hebrew School Feeling.” Each year, before the clock changes, I’m reminded of my association. And once we set back the clock, the “Hebrew School Feeling” returns, and it happens like clockwork each afternoon—pun intended.

Naturally, the “Hebrew School Feeling” goes back to when I was in Hebrew school.

Hebrew school mirrored the light outside. During a fair amount of the year, class started when the sun was still out, and it ended after sunset.

For six years, I arrived to Hebrew school just before 4 p.m. The sun would shine as I walked through the doors. However, within minutes of starting class, it would get a little darker outside. Each time I would peer out the window it was even darker. Finally, when it was time to leave and I would walk outside, it was nighttime, and the moon was shining.

At the time, I was aware of the association between the light and Hebrew school, but I thought it was a characteristic of Hebrew school specifically. My memories of the light are vivid. I can place myself inside the classroom, and I know what it looks like outside. Each classroom had a different view, and I can still move between them.

But Hebrew school was more than just the light outside. I believe that attending Hebrew school is an essential part of growing up Jewish. I can pull up tons of memories ranging from which teachers I had to our class’ seder each year. There was always anticipation over who was going to get assigned which passage from the Haggadah. I loved when we got to nibble on raisins, figs, and dates—nature’s candy— on Tu B’Shevat. I even kept my final assignment— I’m hoping to use the questions from it someday at a dinner party.

So it makes sense that the “Hebrew School Feeling” I have is so strong that it came back to me several years later, when I began college.

During my first semester, I took Introduction to Psychology from 4 to 6 p.m, the same time that Hebrew school had been. The light would change during class just like it had before. The feeling rushed back to me.

I returned to the “Hebrew School Feeling” again when I started working after college. I would go into the office when it was sunny and leave when it was dark. I developed a habit of looking out the window every day after 3 p.m. and then looking again as it got darker. Just like back in Hebrew school when I used to look out the window.

Attending Hebrew school is a tradition. When you begin your Hebrew school education, you join an extensive roster of current and former students; a community. It’s going to have an impact. And, because of this, I am going to connect with Hebrew school throughout my life.

I love that I can find a little bit of Hebrew school after we set back the clock. I love that the sun setting at an hour earlier still holds meaning for me. Otherwise, it would just be darkness at 5 p.m. Hebrew school has given this change in light meaning.

Feel free to adopt the “Hebrew School Feeling.” It’s bigger than just me.

(Photo by Olga Miltsova/Shutterstock)