Dalia Golbari, Yavneh Academy

Dalia Golbari

I have done a lot of Sephardic traditions at Yavneh to name a few:

Rosh Hashana seder

I cooked and prepared everything in the kitchen for the entire grade. We ate every food representing the simanim of the new year. We relied the brachot and learned why we eat each food item.

Pesach seder.

I ran simultaneously an Ashkenazic and Sephardic seder. The children made kiddish in Sephardic tune and learned how the Persians hit each other with scallions in Dayenu (that was the hit of our seder).

Every year when I teach about Pesach I tell the children about Minhagim and Mitzvot. It's a minhag for Persian Jews (and some Sephardic Jews) to eat rice and other kitniyot on Pesach. I am very proud to say that some of my colleagues and administrators have scallions on their tables for their own seder!!


I also teach Tefillah. I usually have one or more Sephardic students. This year I have one. In the beginning of the year she told me that her brother told her that she needs to sit for Yishtabach and I told her that I too sit during that Tefillah. She was so happy to hear that!! I also talk to the students about Shema. I show them how I hold my right hand to cover my eyes to represent a SHIN. Three fingers instead of my whole hand. Some children have adopted this. When we say Ashray I show them how I hold my hands open for POTAYACH ET YADECHAH. This enjoy doing!!

At the end of the year after completing Sefer Breishit and Sefer Yehoshua it has become a custom to bring in my Bet Keneset’s Sephardic Torah to the Bet Midrash at Yavneh. The children learn about the difference of Ashkenazi Torah and Sephardic Torah. Rabbi Penn has brought this idea to the school and we have been doing this every year for many years. The children enjoy seeing the beautiful silver Torah and hearing about how the Torah is opened and how to navigate to reach the week's parsha. We even celebrate with candy throwing (the Sephardic way).

Being Persian I Am hoping to do something different for Purim this year. Perhaps Persian food for lunch?? While I teach Purim I always show the students the video of someone visiting the kever of Esther and Mordechai in Hamedoon (Shushan) Iran. The students are always amazed and interested in seeing the tombs of the heroine of Purim.

I am very lucky that I work in a school that is very embracing of my Sephardic traditions. I am looking forward to continuing to share my traditions and I hope to be able to get together with other educators and learn from each other!!