Growing up my family was somewhat religious. We celebrated all of the Jewish holidays, went to temple, I became Bar Mitzvah and was Confirmed. We did most of the things a typical Jewish American family does.
Like many young adults, I suspect, once I moved away from home I became less observant. I didn’t belong to a synagogue and lived far enough away from my parents that coming home for the holidays wasn’t always possible.
Once I got married and started a family of my own though, my wife and I decided it would be important for both ourselves and our children to reconnect. We joined a local synagogue and began to bring it back into our lives.
My kids started in Sunday school and we began going to services as a family.
Fast forward to this week. My 9 year old daughter began Hebrew School just yesterday. Up until 2nd grade the children at my temple attend only Sunday School, where they learn mostly about Jewish holidays, traditions etc. In 3rd grade they also begin attending Hebrew School one night a week, mostly, I gather, to prepare them to become Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
My daughter came home from school today, and just like she does most days sat out to do her homework. After her regular was completed she took out her new Hebrew school text book and asked if she could read it to me.
I said of course. As she started reading it aloud it occurred to me that I had absolutely no idea if what she was reading was correct or not. I’d long forgotten how to read and write Hebrew myself. I felt a little guilty that I was unable to help her.
Well thankfully I have my fellow Gear Diary co-editor Dan around to help. In “real-life” Dan happens to be a Rabbi. I immediately hopped on to Skype and called Dan. Dan and I have become good friends through Gear Diary, and he knows my oldest daughter through Skype as well.
After Abby showed Dan her book, which he immediately recognized, she began reading it aloud to him. But it was still difficult with Dan not being able to see exactly what Abby was trying to read.
Dan then had an idea.
Using my iPhone’s camera I simply snapped a picture of the page Abby was reading and e-mailed it to Dan. He had it in a matter of seconds.
Using Skype and my iPhone we’d created our very own Hebrew tutorial session. Abby continued reading, and Dan followed along via his electronic copy correcting and applauding her as she went.
We all use our phones and computers for a lot of tasks. This was the first time I’d used mine for anything like this. And I can guarantee it won’t be the last. Having a friend who’s a Rabbi when you have three girls who will be going through Hebrew School and having their own Bat Mitzvah isn’t such a bad thing. :)