We were at the cottage, 17 of us, and it was Shabbat, and we'd been told we each had to do a D'var Torah.
And as each woman took her turn (no, not all together at one time; they were spread throughout the day on Shabbat) it was amazing how so many of them were wise and insightful and made us think or comment. Most of the women had done a fair bit of work on them, some of us, just pulling it together at the last minute, but I think all of them came together to offer wisdom and reflection on the Torah or HafTorah portions or on the Omer or on other aspects that interested each of us as we thought about what to say.
There were a couple in particular that I really was impressed by. Though if it hadn't been Shabbat with JET I would have taken notes and been able to tell you what they were and what really spoke to me about them. Sigh.
And we discovered, weird coincidence that two of the women had had Bar Mitzvah boys on that week in years gone by. One commented on it, and the other told us what her boy had said.
Several of the D'var Torahs (yes I do remember that's not the right plural, help me out here ladies?) tended to be about the festivals that were given to the Jewish people, back in the day, described in the Torah portion for Emor.
I have to confess that somehow I hadn't read the whole Torah portion before I went; somehow I'd only printed the first portion of it (there are 7) and I wasn't very inspired by what I read in the first, so I was a pretty good audience for what the others had to say.
I think it was kind of neat to have homework before the event, though I'm surprised at myself for saying that. I certainly never used to think that, back in the day. And maybe it was more about having thought something out, having brought something to share, than about having the homework, but I think most people enjoyed the delivery and discussions that followed.
And maybe even the challenge of preparing ourselves to prepare and present it. Maybe.