By Lillian Hellman, Director Mizel Jewish Community Day School
Being the only Jewish Day School in the entire state of Oklahoma might be distinctive enough for Mizel Jewish Community Day School, but what makes us stand apart even more from other schools in the area is the unique cultural opportunities that are available to our students.
Our children are regularly exposed to the many beautiful and stirring stories and customs of 4,000 years of Jewish history. They grow and flourish Jewishly from the twice weekly prayer services, where we discuss the Torah portions and explore how they apply to our everyday lives. We immerse them in the Shabbat and the many Jewish holidays that fill our calendar while nurturing their moral and spiritual character.
But we do not do this alone. We are very fortunate to have access to many talented and learned individuals in our community, who give their time and expertise to our children.
One such special person, who has supported our school for many years, is Rabbi Yehuda Weg, the rabbi of Chabad of Tulsa. He has spent many hours with our students, sharing insights into the meanings of the Jewish holidays, the importance of giving tzedakah, how to do mitzvahs and behave as a mensch. Our students enjoy his game show format of teaching about the holidays, and their parents and the greater community benefit from his many interesting and enjoyable programs.
One very special activity that is reserved just for our school and just for our graduating class, is the shofar-making workshop. So many of our fifth graders over the years have had the very unique opportunity to learn about and actually help create their very own shofar. Rabbi Weg brings an array of drills, hacksaws, a sander, sealer, protective gloves and goggles, a box full of hollow goat horns and an entire lesson on what makes a shofar kosher. The students select their horns and with the rabbi’s help, form them into real shofars.
The students learned that not all horns can become a shofar. First, they must come from a kosher animal, though he noted the one exception: the horns of kosher cows are not used since they remind us too much of the Golden Calf. He explained that horns must have an inner core of cartilage; antlers do not, so they cannot be used for shofars. The horns are then boiled and the cartilage is removed (a very smelly process that thankfully we avoided, since these horns were already empty when we got them).
To create the mouthpiece, each student used a hacksaw to cut off about an inch of the tip and then drilled a hole. They sanded and coated their finished product and tested their shofar. It was an exciting, unique educational experience. I can honestly say that we are the only school that teaches Shofar Making 101, and we have Rabbi Weg to thank for it.
For more information about Mizel JCDS, please visit us at: www.mizelschool.org, or call: 918.494.0953 for a tour. Enrollment is always open.