Classroom Guide Jewish Holidays
Carol Starin Bonnie Morris Jane Golub & Joel Lurie Grishaver
The Classroom Guide to the Jewish Holidays Carol Starin, Bonnie Morris, Jane Golub & Joel Lurie Grishaver
Torah Aura Productions
ISBN 10: 1-934527-41-6 ISBN 13: 978-1-934527-41-2 Copyright © 2010 Torah Aura Productions. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means graphic, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Torah Aura Productions 4423 Fruitland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90058 (800) BE-Torah • (800) 238-6724 • (323) 585-7312 fax (323) 585-0327 • E-MAIL <firstname.lastname@example.org> Visit the Torah Aura website at www.torahaura.com Manufactured in United states
Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Rosh ha-Shanah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Yom Kippur . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Sukkot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Simhat Torah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Shabbat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Hanukkah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Tu B’Shvat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Purim . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 Passover . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 Yom ha-Atzma’ut . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 Shavuot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
Introduction A current buzz phrase is “repurposing content.” In this case we have “double-purposed” a teacher’s guide. When we created the teacher’s guide for I Can Celebrate the Jewish Holidays, the new first-grade textbook on the Jewish holidays, we wanted it to be an experiential resource. Once we had it in hand, we realized that it was a solid handbook not only for people teaching our book, but for anyone teaching the Jewish holidays in any way. The central idea of this teacher’s guide is that holidays are a lot more than names and descriptions. Holidays need to become memories. The right way to make that happen in a classroom is to balance the information with experiences. The Classroom Guide to the Jewish Holidays is a collection of experiences and resources. It is about what you do after you teach that seder means “order”. It is crafts projects and activities, recipes and songs. It is things to do at school and things for parents to do at home.
Backward Planning The way to use this guide is simple. First (using backward planning) decide what you are trying to accomplish in your lessons on a holiday. The teacher’s guide begins with Central Idea(s); these are the focus of the teaching you are going to do. Underneath these are “enabling ideas.” These are the insights that one needs to collect in order to add up to our central idea. It is always easier to hit a target once it is painted. Your job is to collect the enabling ideas you are committed to teaching. You next step is to shape your tools in order to hit these enabling understandings. Go ahead and check them off in this teacher’s guide. You then need to look at your textbook and decide how it can be used to actualize the enabling ideas that are now your goals. Pick the pages you want to read in class. Pick the activities that the book offers and decide which of them meets your goals. Remember, you are responsible for the way you use the book; the book does not run your class. Then begin flipping through the pages of this teacher’s guide. Pick activities that satisfy two conditions: (1) They have to help you hit your target; (2) they have to be events that you want to stage (and feel comfortable staging) in your classroom. Then you need to put all of this together. Write your enabling ideas at the top of a page. List pieces of your book and activities under each idea that they help you to convey. Then divide up these ideas and activities into the time you have available for this holiday. You should make this chart before you begin teaching anything about the holiday. It is your road map—your plan. I promise you that it will change. You will want to shift it to respond to student questions and activities that beg for extension. That is okay. You are the teacher. You are allowed to make changes. But then you should get back to your plan. The commitment is to actualize as experiences all of the enabling ideas you want to cover. There will always be stuff left over. You
will need to leave the things you don’t get to. Better that you plan and choose the events that will happen in your room.
Experiential Education Underneath this teacher’s guide is an assumption about good education. Aristotle, the famous Greek teacher and philosopher, taught that “The best way of learning how to do something is by doing it.” He says that doing is the best kind of learning. All the activities suggested in this book are opportunities to learn through doing. John Dewey, probably the most important experiential educator (he is literally the guy who wrote the book), says that for an experience to become learning, one needs to reflect on it. After each experience one needs to ask questions like “What lesson did we just learn?” “What feelings were created by the activity?” and “What is important about the _________ we just made/baked/sang/etc.?” My friend Harlene Appleman teaches that Jewish education is about making memories. It is hard to know what a student will remember, but I still remember the special way my first grade Hebrew school teacher cut an apple to show a star when we ate apples and honey. And I remember the model sukkah that I made out of strawberry containers (which used to be made of green plastic). Our job is to create positive events that are worth remembering. This teacher’s guide provides you with lots of options. You have to turn them from possibilities into moments. You are a teacher. This is your job.
Rosh ha-Shanah Focus Rosh ha-Shanah teaches us that we can always start over again. We learn that we can always turn our life around and have a new beginning. This is a big lesson about the possible. Much of what we do on Rosh ha-Shanah is about the future. We greet each other with a wish for the future: L’Shanah Tovah, for a good new year. We eat sweet foods, apples, honey, round hallot, pomegranates — all wishes for a sweet new year. We listen to the shofar. Its sound is designed to announce, gather, and awaken the people. We are beginning the process of change that leads to a better future. That we can begin again is an important message. It is a message about growth as a person, it is about finding inner strength, and it is about learning from mistakes. Beginning again is a huge part of our belief system. We believe that things can change and people can evolve. It is a great gift, because it gives us permission to be wrong — if we use those mistakes as a foundation for growth.
Central Idea Rosh ha-Shanah, the New Year, is a chance to learn from the past and plan for the future.
Enabling Ideas • Rosh ha-Shanah is a time of questions and hope. • The feeling of awe is central to the High Holidays. • Rosh ha-Shanah cards are one way of expressing our hopes and wishes. • Practicing the shofar, giving tzedakah, studying the Mahzor, sending Rosh haShanah cards, saying “I’m sorry,” and remembering family history are all ways of preparing for Rosh ha-Shanah. • A round hallah and apples and honey are foods that convey the message of Rosh ha-Shanah. • The shofar and its four calls are designed to awaken our hearts to reflect on our behavior. • Tashlih is a ceremony in which we throw our past sins away. • The Mahzor is the special High Holiday prayerbook that helps us to do the work we need to do during this period.
Starters 1. How is the year a circle? Collect ideas from the students. Everything has a beginning. Rosh ha-Shanah is the beginning of the Jewish year. Not everything has an end. Some things go around and around. Rosh Ha-Shanah will come again next year. Your birthday will come again next year. We will read the Torah again next year. 2. Discuss: What is a holiday? Ask students to name some Jewish holidays. Holidays are special days set aside on which we remember something or celebrate something. Learning about Jewish holidays is learning about Jewish history and Jewish life — our people, our stories, and Jewish ways to live. 3. Set a table with: a shofar, a round hallah, a jar of honey, an apple, a shanah tovah card and a calendar. Ask students: What do a shofar, honey, a greeting card, a Jewish calendar and a round hallah teach us about Rosh ha-Shanah? 4. Old and new. Bring a pile of old clothes mixed with new clothes. With your students, hold up, compare, and separate items into piles of old and new. Then list what’s new in student’s life. Students may mention shoes, clothes, classroom, teacher, friends, siblings, a bike. Next, introduce Rosh ha Shanah — a new Jewish year that we celebrate with a new hallah shape (round), a new sound (the shofar), and new behavior to replace old, worn-out behavior. 5. Last year, next year. Give each student a piece of construction paper folded in half to make two columns. One column is labeled “Last Year”. The other column is labeled “Next Year.” After discussion and sharing in class, invite students to write or draw in the first column five things that didn’t go so well last year and in the second column, five things they hope to do better next year. 6. A fresh start. Make a pile of small pieces of paper. In class, talk about some of the things students did last year that hurt or angered people. Write or draw each “misdeed” on a piece of paper. Fold papers, collect them all in a paper bag, take the bag outdoors, and burn it. 7. Wake up! The shofar tells us to wake up and reminds us to change our ways. Make a list of some of the things you want to change next year. Students put their lists in individually marked envelopes to be opened on the last day of school. 8. Rosh ha-Shanah memories: Ask the kids what they remember about Rosh ha-Shanah. Create a list of their answers using a blackboard or flip chart. Here are some questions you can use to open a discussion about Rosh ha-Shanah: Have you ever tried to blow a shofar? Have you ever baked hallah before? How about a round hallah? Have you ever made a New Year’s card? What did it look like? Next to each comment write the name of the child who made it. You can refer to “David teaching us about eating a round hallah” all though the lesson. David will feel great to have been recognized as a partner in teaching the class.
Developing the Ideas • Read Gershon’s Monster: A Story for the Jewish New Year by Eric A. Kimmel. During the book discussion ask: What is Gershon’s monster? What made the monster go away? When was a time you had a monster like Gershon’s monster? • When students least expect it, set off a loud alarm. Ask: What happened when you heard the alarm? How is a shofar like an alarm?
• Read “The Announcing Tool,” page 85 in Does God Have A Big Toe? by Rabbi Marc Gellman. • Who is a good person to blow the shofar? Read “Who Will Blow the Shofar” (Seven Delightful Stories for Every Day by Dov Peretz Elkins), a story about modesty and saying you’re sorry. • How is a greeting like a prayer? A prayer is a greeting to God. We know that most greetings are wishes, and prayers are special kinds of wishes. A greeting is when we see or start talking to somebody. Practice saying “L’Shana Tovah” to each other. • Teach the “Sing Along Song” (page 4) written by Steve Reuben (Especially Wonderful Days: Sing Along Jewish Holiday Songs for the Primary Grades, A.R.E. 1976). Sing it several times. Together, as a class, invent some new verses. The song has a verse about Rosh ha-Shanah. Students can learn the chorus and make up verses for each holiday they study. Chorus: Sing along song come sing along . Sing along song with me . It’ll make you smile . If you sing for a while . A sing along song with me.
Rosh ha-Shanah Activities Deepen the understanding of Rosh ha-Shanah by doing some of the following: 1. Make a collaborative class book. When I hear the shofar I ____________ . Cut the cover and pages in the shape of a shofar. 2. Rosh ha-Shanah cards: There are many ways of making Rosh ha-Shanah cards. This can be as simple as crayons and markers on manila paper. To make three-dimensional cards use pre-cut foam cut-outs. You can use glitter or glitter glue, stamps, and a lot more. We want these cards to emphasize the symbols of Rosh ha-Shanah: apple, honey, shofar, and the words L’Shanah Tovah. We also want these cards to invite students to make their wishes for the coming New Year. Using your hand, the hands of your madrikhim, and any adult volunteers you can muster, have the hopes and wishes of your students transcribed into the cards. Invite them to complete sentences like “Next year I hope that…” “In the coming year I want…” etc. Make two pop-up Rosh ha Shanah cards — one to send (or take) home and one to send to a resident at a Jewish senior center. Directions for making really fun pop-ups can be found at www.makersgallery.com/joanirvine/howto.html. Martha Stewart also has great ideas for card-making: www.marthastewart.com. Make apple print Rosh ha-Shanah cards You will need an apple cut in halves for each student Forks Tray or plate for paint Washable paints (red, yellow and green are good colors to use) White construction paper Glitter (optional) Markers or crayons
Fold your construction paper into half or quarters, depending on what size cards you want. Squeeze some paint onto the plates. Make your fork into a handle for the apple (your stamper) by stabbing into the rounded side of the apple. Holding the handle (fork), dip the cut side of the apple into the color. The apple should be fully covered, but not dripping with paint. Stamp the shape of the apple onto your paper. While the paint is still wet, sprinkle some glitter onto your paper (optional). Once the paint has dried, inscribe a greeting ( L’Shanah Tovah or “Happy New Year”) on the inside of the card. 3. Shofar sounds. Bring a shofar (or several shofarot) to class. Invite students to feel, examine, and to try to blow them. Ask: What are your questions about the shofar? List the questions. Invite a shofar blower to class to blow the shofar, teach the four shofar calls, and answer students’ question about the shofar. Human shofar blasts. Teach students how to use their mouths to imitate the shofar calls. The teacher can be the ba’al kriyah, the one who calls out the blasts. Teki'ah means “blast” — one long blast. Shevarim means “broken” — three short calls. Teru'ah means “alarm” (wailing) — nine short, rapid notes. Teki'ah godolah — the great tekiyah — one long blast held as long as possible.
Make a shofar from a kazoo by wrapping a cone-shaped piece of tagboard around the kazoo. A kazoo makes it possible to actually imitate the shofar calls. Teach the four shofar calls. Name them, put them on a chart, using long and short dashes, and invite students to make the shofar calls with their kazoos. 4. Invite students to become shofrot, making long and short jumps in response to the shofar calls. Make a shofar mobile. Cut out pieces of colored construction paper in the shape of shofrot. Give three or four of the shapes to each student to decorate on both sides. Next, punch two holes on each side of the shape (students can tell you where to punch the holes). Through each hole thread a piece of wool, and attach the shapes to each other, making sure that the first string is free to use for hanging. Make L’Shanah Tovah cards in the shape of shofarot. Fold construction paper in half and cut the shape of a shofar, making sure to leave one side so that the card folds. Have students decorate the card. You might consider photocopying L’Shanah Tova” and having the students glue it to their card. You can also write it on the board for students to copy. 5. Cooking projects Make a round hallah (use commercially prepared frozen bread dough, if time is a factor) Round hallah: Hallah is the symbol of Jewish celebration. Hallah means that this is a special Jewish meal. A round hallah is even more special. It is a symbol of Rosh haShanah. The roundness suggests the Jewish year that goes round and round, always starting over again. Here are two recipes that make a round hallah.
Rosh ha-Shanah Round Hallah 1 makes 1–2 large or 6–8 small round hallot This hallah recipe was adapted for students working in groups. Given time contsraints, you may want to consider preparing the hallah through step 5, and let students form the dough and watch it bake. Ingredients 2 tablespoons dry yeast 1¾ cups warm water ½ cup sugar ⅓ cup honey 3½ teaspoons salt ½ cup oil 3 eggs plus 2 egg yolks 7 cups bread flour 1½ cups raisins (optional) Egg wash 2 tablespoons water 2 teaspoons sugar 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk Directions 1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the yeast, water, and a pinch of the sugar. Let the mixture stand for five minutes. 2. Stir in the remaining sugar, the honey and the salt. Add the oil, eggs, yolks, about six cups of flour, and the raisins (if you are using raisins). Let the dough stand for 10 minutes. 3. Knead for 10 minutes, adding the remaining flour as required to make a soft and elastic dough. If the dough is still sticky, add small amounts of flour until it is soft but not sticky. 4. Let the dough rest another 10 minutes. 5. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for one hour. 6. Divide the dough into 6–8 equal pieces. With each piece, form a length of dough about 3 inches wide, thicker at one end. Place the thicker end on a cornmealsprinkled (or greased) baking sheet. Coil the dough around the thicker end in a spiral, tucking the end into the center or under the bottom of the hallah. 7. In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients that make up the egg wash. Brush the bread with the egg wash. Let the dough rise another 20–30 minutes. 8. Preheat the oven to 400°. Bake the bread for 12 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350º and bake another 25 minutes.
Rosh ha-Shanah Round Hallah 2 — Hallah in a Hurry This hallah is made with quick-rise yeast. It is a sweeter, richer hallah and takes far less time. Yield 1–2 large or 6 small loaves Ingredients 1½ cups warm water 1 cup melted margarine ¾ cup sugar 3 eggs, beaten 4½ teaspoons quick-rise yeast 1 teaspoon salt 7½ cups bread flour 1½ cups raisins or chocolate chips (optional) Egg wash 1 egg, beaten 2 tablespoons poppy seeds (optional) 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional) Directions 1. In a bowl, blend together warm water, margarine, sugar, and 3 eggs. 2. In a second bowl, mix together yeast, salt, and 7 cups of the flour. 3. Gradually stir in liquid ingredients and raisins or chocolate chips, and mix until dough holds together. 3. Knead dough on a floured surface with remaining flour until smooth. 4. Split the dough into six pieces. Roll each piece into a rope ¾ inch thick. Coil the dough around the thicker end in a spiral, tucking the end into the center or under the bottom of the hallah. 5. Place shaped dough on greased cookie sheets. Brush dough with remaining beaten egg. Add poppy or sesame seeds, if desired. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. 5. Bake in a preheated 325° oven for 20 to 30 minutes.
Once you’ve baked the round hallot, it is Jewish to say a brakhah (or two) before eating them. Some Jews wash their hands with a blessing before bread. The blessing is: .
Barukh Attah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha-Olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al netilat yadaim. Praised are You Adonai our God Ruler of the Cosmos, Who makes us holy with the commandments and commands us to wash our hands. Usually we dip bread in salt to remind us that our table has replaced the Altar in the Temple. On Rosh ha-Shanah we replace the salt with honey to emphasize our wishes for a sweet New Year. When we eat hallah we say the brakhah before eating bread.
Barukh Attah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha-Olam ha-Motzi lehem min ha-aretz. Praised are You Adonai our God Ruler of the Cosmos Who bring forth bread from the ground. Make a round hallah out of pantyhose: If you can’t have a real round hallah in your classroom and you are not ready to bake one (yet), you can (or you can have your class) create a model by using three or four legs of panty hose. Stuff the panty hose with foam, cloth, or paper, tie the ends, and braid the legs. If you leave it like that, you will have a regular hallah. If you then pull the ends together and make a circle out of the braids, you can create a round hallah. Make a honey cake to take home or to take to a senior center.
4 eggs . 1 cup sugar . 2½ cups all-purpose flour . ½ teaspoon baking soda . 3 teaspoons baking powder . 1 teaspoon cinnamon . ½ teaspoon allspice . ½ teaspoon ginger . ½ teaspoon ground cloves . ½ cup oil . 1 cup honey . 1 cup orange juice Directions 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-inch bundt pan. 2. Combine dry ingredients. 3. Beat eggs and sugar together. Stir together oil, honey, and orange juice. 4. Add dry ingredients and oil mixture to eggs alternately, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Pour into prepared pan. 5. Bake for 50 minutes. Let cool in pan 10 minutes and remove. From Spike and Jamie’s website: http://archive.spike-jamie.com/Jewish/issue_10.html
6. Apples and honey: Apples are a fall fruit (so are pomegranates). The custom of eating apples and honey (or pomegranates) started with the idea that we are eating a fruit for the first time in a long time. We are having a new experience to begin a new year. Given modern agriculture and distribution, apples are a year-round thing, but they still convey the idea of newness on Rosh ha-Shanah. The dipping in honey is again a wish for the New Year to be sweet. The simplest thing to do with apples and honey is to eat them. Slice the apple into small sections. Put the honey in a bowl so that dipping is possible. Then bless, dip, and eat.
Barukh Attah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha-Olam borei pri ha-etz. Praised are You Adonai our God Ruler of the Cosmos, Who creates the fruit of the tree. Make apple-honey muffins
Apple-Honey Muffins makes 8–10 muffins Ingredients 1 ounce vegetable oil 3 ounces honey 1 egg 1 cup flour ½ teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda 1 cup coarsely chopped or grated apples ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg ¼ teaspoon ground allspice pinch ground cloves ⅓ cup chopped walnuts 2 tablespoons orange juice Directions 1. Preheat the oven to 350º. 2. Mix the oil with the honey. 3. Beat the egg, then add the eggs to the honey mixture. 4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 5. Grate the apple, then mix together the apple, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and walnuts. 6. Add a little flour mixture to the egg mixture, then a little grated apple, then some more flour mixture, and so on, until all the flour and apple mixture is used up. 7. Fill paper muffin cups two-thirds full and place in muffin tins, or grease the muffin tins and pour the batter in. 8. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool and serve plain or with honey.
Dried apples. These dried apple slices can be enjoyed for weeks into the New Year. Long ago, people preserved their food without refrigerators. Peel, core, and slice the apples. Then loop pieces of string through the circular apple slices. Tape or tie the other ends of the string to a coat hanger and hang in a warm, dry place. In two weeks the apples will have dried out and will be a sweet and chewy treat. Make an apple and honey dish to take home. Kathy Ross has a wonderful and colorful dish on pages 22 and 23 of her Jewish Holiday Craft Book (Lerner Publishing Group). A good wishes apple. Blow up a large round balloon. Fasten the end with a rubber band. Tear newspaper into strips that are 1 to 2 inches wide. Soak the strips in liquid starch for ten minutes. Paste the strips onto the balloon until the whole balloon is covered. Let the paper dry. Add three more layers of newspaper strips, letting each layer dry before adding
the next. Soak 1- to 2-inch strips of paper towels in the liquid starch, and add two layers of these strips to form more of an apple shape. Cut a 1¾-inch piece of stiff cardboard for the stem. Wrap starched newspaper strips around it. Let your apple and stem dry for a few days. Release the rubber band, and the balloon inside will lose its air. Then draw a line all around the top third of the apple. Cut along this line. Cut a hole in the top half that is a little smaller than the stem you made. Wedge the stem in the hole so that it forms a tight seal. It is now a handle. Paint the stem brown and the apple a rosy red color. You could even glue on some green construction paper leaves. Paint the inside of your apple white. Have people write messages telling their hopes for the New Year, and put them inside the apple. Take turns reading the messages aloud. 7. Tzadakah box. Tzedakah should be a habit, not a weekly quarter. We want to help students and their families develop the pattern of connecting tzedakah to good and bad news, to every Jewish holiday celebration, and to the beginning of every Shabbat. We do this in two ways. First, we have a classroom tzedakah box to model the behavior. Second, we make sure that every family has its own tzedakah box. A Rosh ha-Shanah craft project is the perfect beginning to a year of tzedakah. Consider using the following items: Chinese take-out containers, ice cream containers, nut containers, Band-Aid boxes, coffee cans. Each of these can have a hole cut in the top and be decorated in any number of ways. There are blank tzedakah boxes for sale that are ready to be decorated. Go to Mahir Judaica, mahirjudaica.com. 8. Firsts you’d like to have. Rosh ha-Shanah is about celebrating firsts. Apples and honey remind us of the first time we eat a given fruit in a year. Have students work in small groups (preferably with a teacher, a madrikh or madrikhah, a parent, etc.) to make a list of things they would like to do for the first time in the coming year. 9. Teach some Rosh ha-Shanah songs Naomi Shemmer’s Tapuhim u’D’vash Debbie Friedman’s L’Shanah Tovah from Shir ha Galgalim A.R.E’s “Sing Along Song” 10. Mahzor covers: Show students a siddur and a Mahzor. Point out some of the differences. Explain that the Mahzor contains special prayers for Rosh ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur. The siddur contains prayers for weekdays and Shabbat. In order to help distinguish the Mahzor from the siddur, the children will make special covers for their families’ Mahzorim. Materials needed: the synagogue or day school’s Mahzor to make a pattern for the book cover, a variety of decorative art supplies (buttons, stones, sequins, stickers, glitter, felt, ribbon, yarn, etc.), scrap fabric, tracing paper, scissors, glue, tape, and marking pens. Have the students trace and cut a pattern out of scrap material. In a dark color marker have the children write THE (child’s last name) MAHZOR on the cover. Students can decorate the rest of the cover as they wish, using all the supplies provided. 11. Make a shofar. Materials needed: shofar pattern, construction paper, staplers, and kazoos. Cut two copies of a shofar shape pattern from construction paper. Students may decorate their shofar pattern pieces any way they choose (crayons, paint, markers, etc.) Place the
shofar pattern pieces on the sides of the kazoo and staple them shut, leaving the top open. Practice making shofar sounds. 12. Round hallah plate and cover. The hallah we eat on Shabbat and other Jewish holidays is usually shaped like a long braid. On Rosh ha-Shanah we eat a special hallah that is round. Materials needed: large round paper dinner plates, aluminum foil, glue, beads, jewels, sequins, colored foil, scrap material, hole punch, scissors, and yarn. Cover the plate tightly with aluminum foil. Create a decorative trim for the plate by gluing items around the rim (beads, sequins, etc.). To make the hallah cover, cut scrap material or felt into 4” x 4” squares. Punch at least three holes on all sides of the squares. Using yarn, stitch together at least nine squares. Cut the patchwork into the shape of a circle. You can add fringe with yarn to trim the hallah cover. 13. Make pomegranate punch.
Pomegranate Punch Ingredients 1 pomegranate 1 shish kebab skewer 1 straw Directions 1. Take a smooth pomegranate and roll it on a countertop until all the crunchy sounds stop. Push on it as much as you can without breaking the skin. Keep doing this over all the surface of the pomegranate until it is soft and there is no crunchiness. 2. Use the shish kebab skewer to gently make a hole in the pomegranate. 3. Take your straw and insert it into into the pomegranate. 4. Drink.
14. Snack: Then take a stretch. Have a snack of tapuhim (apples) and d’vash (honey) and learn the blessing!
Endings 1. Review. What do we hear, eat, and send on Rosh Ha-Shanah? 2. Sweet beginnings. Involve families. On the first day, invite parents to join the class for the first or last 15 minutes. Give a graham cracker to each child. Ask parents to help make a shin from honey to draw or drip onto the cracker. Together say Sheheheyanu, which thanks God for bringing us to this day when our children begin to learn Hebrew. Then invite the students to lick the honey shin and eat the graham cracker.
At Home (Family Opportunities) 1. Include a letter that points out the Sheheheyanu blessing. Encourage parents to look for Sheheheyanu moments at home (losing first tooth, first time riding a bike without training wheels) and mark those moments by saying Sheheheyanu out loud. Parents should mark their own Sheheheyanu moments, too.
2. Creation walk. Invite parents to take a “creation walk” with their children. Walk around the neighborhood or go to a park or arboretum. Look for and talk about God’s creatures and creations. 3. Kotel moment. Invite parents to work with their children and write prayers for the New Year that can be folded and inserted into a kotel that you can make. (The kotel is also known as the Western or Wailing Wall. It is the remaining portion of what once was the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and the holiest site for Jews.) Take a piece of poster board, decorate as the kotel, and make small slits. The back of the kotel should have a pocket to catch any pieces of paper that fall. 4. Have a birthday party for the world. Make a three-tier round cake out of construction paper. Have parents and children work together to “decorate” the cake with their hopes for the New Year, as follows: Bottom layer — hopes for the world Middle layer — hopes for the Jewish people Top layer — hopes for their family
Resources Jacob Richman has a huge collection of websites for every Jewish holiday at www.jr.co.il/hotsites/ j-hday.htm. Click on Rosh ha-Shanah.
Books Cohen, Deborah Bodin. Engineer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride. Kar-Ben Publishing. Epstein, Sylvia B. How the Rosh Hashanah Challah Became Round. Gefen Publishing House. Fass. David E. The Shofar That Lost Its Voice. URJ Press. Fishman, Cathy Goldberg. On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Aladdin Picture Books. Gellman, Marc. Does God Have a Big Toe? Stories About Stories in the Bible. Harper Collins Childrens Books. Gerstein, Mordicai. The White Ram: A Story of Abraham and Isaac. Holiday House. Goldin, Barbara Diamond. The World’s Birthday. Sandpiper. Groner, Judyth, and Madeline Wikler. All About Rosh Hashanah. Kar-Ben Publishing. Greene, Jacqueline Dembar. The Secret Shofar of Barcelona. Kar-Ben Publishing. Heller, Linda. Today Is the Birthday of the World. Dutton Juvenile. Kimmel, Eric A. Even Higher! A Rosh Hashanah Story. Holiday House. Kimmel, Eric A. Gershon’s Monster: A Story for the Jewish New Year. Scholastic Press. Kimmelman, Leslie. Sound the Shofar! HaperCollins. Kropf, Latifa Berry. Happy Birthday World: A Rosh Hashanah Celebration. Kar-Ben Publishing. Levin, Carol. A Rosh ha-Shanah Walk. Kar-Ben Publishing. Musleah, Rahel, and Rabbi Michael Klayman. Sharing Blessings: Children’s Stories for Exploring the Spirit of the Jewish Holidays. Jewish Lights Publishing. Siegel, Richard, Michael Strassfeld, and Sharon Strassfled. The First Jewish Catalog. JPS. Silverman, Erica. When the Chickens Went on Strike. Dutton Juvenile. Wayland, April Halprin. New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story. Dial Publishers.
Yom Kippur Focus Yom Kippur is hard. It is an abstract holiday. That makes it difficult to teach to young children. Even so, it has an important message — that we can fix and change things we have done wrong. It is best understood as “I’m sorry” day. While t’shuvah, repentance, is a year-round activity that comes into focus in the months of Elul and Tishre, the day of Yom Kippur gives us the best chance to focus on the process of change. The big idea is that we become better people through inner and interpersonal work. Yom Kippur is the day on which the Jewish calendar centers t’shuvah, and this makes it the best time to focus on taking responsibility for our actions.
There are no clear Yom Kippur symbols. Many of its customs are also abstract, such as wearing a tallit at night, fasting, spending all day in synagogue, etc. Unlike other holidays, it has no thing we hold in our hand, nothing we eat, nothing concrete like “birthday of the world” that makes it easy. We are left with the difficult explanation that Yom Kippur is the day to turn your life around and become a better person. The heart of Yom Kippur is a process. (1) Admit that some of the things you have done are wrong. (2) Fix anything that you hurt or broke (especially feelings). (3) Say that you are sorry. And (4) Work on never repeating this mistake. This process is called t’shuvah, repentance, and it is the key Yom Kippur lesson, even if it is a hard lesson to teach to younger children.
Central Idea T’shuvah is the way we fix the hurt we have caused and change ourselves so that we never again create that same kind of hurt.
Enabling Ideas • Asking God’s help. Yom Kippur is when we ask God’s help in fixing the mistakes we have made. We spend all day trying to become the best person we can be. • Repentance. T’shuvah involves reconciliation with people and reconciliation with God. • Al Het. The Hebrew prayer about sin means “missing the mark”. • We wear a tallit on Erev Kol Nidre, the starting night of Yom Kippur. Starters 1. Sin and missing the basket. Place a wastebasket in the center of the room. Give everyone a piece of scrap paper. Ask students to crunch up the paper and throw it in the basket. Ask: What do we do about the ones that missed? (Someone will need to go pick them up and put
them in the basket.) Sometimes our behavior is like that crumpled paper that missed the basket. Yom Kippur is a time to think about our behavior and a chance to do some things over. 2. Discussion. What are some mistakes you made this year? What are some things we can do and say to fix those mistakes? 3. Tallit. Connect the tallit to Erev Kol Nidre. Bring in a tallit for children to touch, describe, and try on. Ask: What are your questions about the tallit? Invite someone to come and answer all the questions.
Developing the Ideas 4. Develop a class list of ways we missed the mark. Walk around the class and have students whisper their Het in your ear. After collecting the list, write it on the board as a collection, in the plural. Examples: We hit our brothers and sisters; we yelled at our parents; we lied when we got scared. Use the list to . . . 5. Make a collective book called Missing the Mark. Each student illustrates one page. At the bottom of each page is one sentence. Example: “We missed the mark when we talked back to the teacher.” 6. Practice saying Al Het. Ask students to stand, teach them how to “beat” their chests, and repeat the list together. 7. Discussion: What are some things you’d like to do over? Why? How do we apologize to other people? How do we apologize to God? Why do you think we need to apologize to people before we apologize to God? 8. Read The Always Prayer Shawl by Sheldon Oberman (Boyds Mills Press). Through the journey of a tallit that is passed down from one generation to the next, the book describes how some things change and how some things stay the same. You may want to invite to class a parent and grandparent to show their tallitot and tell stories about them. 9. Discussion: Do you think fasting is a punishment? Why do you think Jews fast on Yom Kippur? (We don’t think about food or eating so we will be able to really concentrate on what we need to do to become better people, fix our mistakes, ask God to forgive us.) 10. Discussion about atonement. Have you ever hidden under a chair or made a fort by putting a blanket over a table? How do you feel inside when you’re hiding? How do you feel inside when you help the lady next door carry her groceries? When you break the lamp in the living room and blame the dog? When you take your sister’s favorite sweater, tear it, and ask your mom to help fix it? Show with your body how you feel inside when these things happen. When you do something wrong, even if your parents haven’t caught you, you feel like part of you is hidden away from them. When you apologize, you feel close to them again. Our relationship to God is like that. 11. Read The Hardest Word: A Yom Kippur Story by Jacqueline Jules (Kar-Ben Publishing). It is a wonderful story to use as a springboard for discussions about the importance of atonement and about asking God for help in fixing things. Use this book as a context for situations that come up throughout the year. When talking to a student who has hurt some-
one’s feelings or hit someone at recess, remind him about the Ziz and suggest, “This is a time to say the hardest word.” 12. Create several scenarios for students to act out and practice ways to say “I’m sorry.” 13. Read a Yom Kippur story. Then have students illustrate what they’ve learned. 14. Create a Yom Kippur dictionary by illustrating each vocabulary word (you may wish to write the words ahead of time and give children the papers to illustrate). 15. Ask you cantor to come and sing or play a tape of the Kol Nidre prayer being chanted. What mood does it create? Illustrate the feeling with paints. Make sure students create captions for their artwork that explain the mood of Kol Nidre. 16. Create a “we can do better” bulletin board as a class. 17. Engage in acts of tzedakah. It is customary to give contributions to a charity before a Jewish holiday. The liturgy talks about three things that help us get past God’s judgment: tzedakah (charity), tefillah (prayer), t’shuvah (repentence). That makes pre–Yom Kippur the perfect time to do a tzedakah project. It is also a way of getting ready for Yom Kippur. 18. Moses steals the Shema. Here is a story to tell. It deals with the Shema and its unique performance on Yom Kippur, and it reinforces t’shuvah (repentence), t'fillah (prayer), and tzedakah (charity).
Moses Steals the Shema Moses went up to heaven to get the Torah. All around him were gathered the angels. They were carrying signs and yelling, “Keep the Torah! Don’t let it go.” Moses took off his tallit katan, the little tallit he wore under his robe, and tied it onto his staff. He shouted, “Truce!” Four angels came forward to talk to him: Michael, Gavriel, Uzziel, and Raphael. Moses said, “Let me ask three questions, and then you can make a choice to let me have the Torah, or I will just go home and bother you no more.” They said, “We can handle three questions.” Moses asked, “Who here has ever been disrespectful to their parents? Please raise your hand if the answer is yes.” No angel raised a hand. In fact, every one of them held their own hands down. They said, “We are angels — we don’t have parents.” (For Jews, angels came from God. They never had parents.) Then Moses asked, “Who has ever stolen something? Please shout out ‘Me!’” The angels were silent. They put their hands over their mouths, and through their fingers they said, “We are angels — we don’t steal.” Finally Moses asked, “Who here has ever murdered someone? Please take a step forward.” Every angel took a step back — every angel except one. One stood still. All of the angels said, “We’re angels — we don’t murder.” Then Moses shouted, “Don’t you get it? You don’t need the Torah — we do. Torah isn’t for those who already do what God wants. Torah is for those of us who need to learn how to be more like God in our actions.” The angels agreed. They shouted, “Give the Torah to Moses!” and carried him around on their shoulders.
Next, the one angel who had not moved, the Angel of Death, came to him and whispered three words: “Tzedakah (charity), t’shuvah (repentence), and tefillah (prayer). These are the ways to keep me away.” Just before he left heaven, Moses heard music in the background. He realized that Gavriel and some of the angels were always filling heaven with songs of praise. One of the songs they were singing over and over “ Barukh shem Kavod Malkhuto l’Olam vo-Ed. Barukh shem Kavod Malkhuto l’Olam vo-Ed.” Moses stole the angels’ song and brought it back to earth along with the Torah. We now sing the angel’s song, “Barukh Shem,” as part of the Shema every day. We whisper it because it was stolen. We say it out loud on Yom Kippur. That is the day on which we have done tzedakah, tefillah, and t’shuvah. It is the one time when we are not guilty of being disrespectful to parents, of stealing, or of murdering. It is the one time that we are as holy as angels. (Deuteronomy Rabbah 2:36)
Projects and Activities Deepen the understanding of Yom Kippur by doing some of the following. 1. Make a mini-book about Yom Kippur. A mini-book has eight pages. The front will say “Yom Kippur” in English (and Hebrew). Pages 2 through 8 will each contain one sentence that tells one thing Jews do or don’t do on Yom Kippur. Students can illustrate each page and take the book home. Examples: • Some Jews fast. • We ask God to forgive us for the times we missed the mark. • We go to synagogue for the whole day. • We don’t wear leather. • Some people wear white. We hear the shofar at the end of Yom Kippur. 2. I Am Sorry cards. Before Yom Kippur we think about mistakes we made and people we hurt during the previous year. After class discussion, invite students to make an “I’m sorry” card to give to someone they hurt or embarrassed. It’s not until we ask others to forgive us that we can ask God to forgive us. 3. Make a tallit out of crepe paper, fabric or a paper towel (for more information on the specifics of fringe tying — difficult for young children — refer to The First Jewish Catalog, Siegel, Strassfeld and Strassfeld, Philadelphia, 1973). A tallit has different parts: the atara neckpiece, often with the words of the brakhah on it, and the tzitzit (fringes). Here is the brakhah for wearing tallit: .
Barukh Attah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha-olam asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hitateif ba-tzitzit. Blessed are You, Eternal our God, Ruler of the Cosmos, Who has made us holy through the commandments and commanded us to wrap ourselves in the tallit (fringes). 4. Inside me, outside me. Use plastic gingerbread man/woman and heart-shaped cookie cutters for patterns. Give each student a sheet of construction paper. Fold it in half like a book.
On the front and inside, trace a man/woman cookie cutter. On the front, invite students to decorate the person to look like themselves. Use the heart-shaped cookie cutters to trace a heart on scraps of red construction paper. Cut them out. Label the front of the book “The Outside Me” and the inside of the book “The Inside Me.” Paste the heart on the person inside. During class discussion emphasize that it is the things we do and not what we wear that make us who we are. On Yom Kippur we work to make the “inside me” beautiful. Ask students to draw a picture on their “heart” showing one thing they do that makes them special (Kathy Ross, The Jewish Holiday Craft Book, page 30). 5. The Book of Jonah is read on Yom Kippur afternoon. Students may be familiar with the story line. Here is a simple translation of the book of Jonah. Have students act it out as you read. Costumes and props would be great.
The Story of Jonah God’s word came to Jonah, saying, “Get up, go to the great city of Nineveh, and tell it that its evil has come up before Me.” Jonah got up and ran away to Tarshish to get away from God. He went down to Jaffa. He found a boat going to Tarshish. He paid his fare. He went down to go on it to Tarshish, away from God. God put a great wind on the sea. The boat was ready to break up. The sailors were afraid. They shouted, each to his own god. They threw things off the boat into the sea to make it lighter. They said, one to the next, “Come, let’s draw straws so that we can find out who is responsible for this evil.” They drew straws, and Jonah got the short one. They said to him, “Please tell us who made this evil fall on us. Where do you come from? Where is your land? From what people are you?” He said to them, “I am a Hebrew. I believe in the Eternal, the God of the heavens, Who made the sea and the dry land.” The men were afraid. They said to him, “What have you done?” These men knew that he was escaping from God, because he had told them. They said to him, “What should we do to you to quiet the sea? The sea keeps going and storming.” He said to them, “Take me and throw me into the sea, and the sea will be quiet. I know that it is because of me that this great storm is against you.” The men rowed hard to return to the dry land, but they could not, because the sea was going and storming against them. They called to God, and they said, “Please, God, do not wipe us out because of the soul of this man.” They threw Jonah into the sea, and the sea stopped its anger. The men believed in God — really believed. They offered offerings to God and vowed vows. God picked a great fish to swallow Jonah. Jonah was in the fish’s stomach three days and three nights. Jonah prayed to God from the fish’s stomach. He said, “I called out from my troubles to the God who answers me. You tossed me into the deep, into the heart of the sea. The currents surrounded me; all the waves broke over me. When my soul was ready to fade, I remembered God. My prayer came before You — to Your Holy sanctuary. God saved me.” God spoke to the fish, and it spat Jonah out onto dry land. The word of God came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to the great city of Nineveh, and tell what I tell you.” Jonah got up and went to Nineveh just as God had said. Nineveh was a great city. He walked for one day and called: “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed.” But the people in Nineveh trusted in God. They called a fast and dressed in sackcloth from the greatest to the smallest. God saw in their actions that they came back from their evil ways. God had mercy. Jonah felt this was evil — a great evil. He burned with anger. He prayed to God and said, “God, this is why I started to run away from Tarshish. I knew You are a kind and
mercy-showing God, patient and understanding, Who would forgive their evil. Now God, please take away my soul, because I would rather die than be alive.” God said, “Is it right that you burn with anger?” Jonah left the city. He built a sukkah there and sat in the shade to see what would happen to the city. God picked a castor-oil plant that grew up over Jonah to be over his head and shade him. Jonah was happy about the plant, really happy. But God picked a worm that bit the castor-oil plant, and it dried up. When the sun shone, God picked a cutting east wind. The sun beat down on Jonah’s head. He became faint and wished his soul to die. He said, “I would rather die than be alive.” God said to Jonah, “It is right that you burn with anger over the plant?” He said, “It is right that I burn with anger — to the point of death.” Then God said to Jonah, “You cared about the castor-oil plant for which you didn’t work, that you didn’t raise, that came one night and vanished the next. Should I not care about Nineveh, the great city that has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell the difference between their right and left hands? And it has many animals, too.”
Endings 1. Review: Things we do on Yom Kippur and things we don’t do on Yom Kippur. 2. List what we wear, eat, beat, say on Yom Kippur.
At Home (family opportunities) 1. Send home “The Feather Story” (Torah Aura Productions), a story to read and talk about as a family. Include an index card with three questions for parents and children to talk about. 2. Encourage families to attend synagogue and parents to fast for at least part of the day. Talk about what books might be appropriate to bring to synagogue if services seem too long. 3. Send home a “Ways We Missed the Mark” chart to post on the refrigerator and use throughout the year. The chart should have two columns: “Ways We Missed the Mark” and “What We Need to Do to Hit the Bull’s-eye.” (See page 23.) 4. Send home a suggested menu and recipes for a pre-Kol Nidre festive meal or for a break-the fast-meal. 5. Write or draw a letter to yourself. On the day before Yom Kippur, gather the family in the living room, hand out paper and pencils, and have each family member write a letter to himself or herself. Choose a topic that is appropriate for the holiday, such as “What I would like to do to be a better, more sensitive person in the coming year.” Have each person write a letter, seal it in a self-addressed envelope, and put a stamp on it with a bit of extra postage (rates are likely to go up next year). Someone should mail the letters just prior to the next Yom Kippur. You and your family members will enjoy receiving these annual letters, which can be used as a measuring stick for the past year. Keep them in a scrapbook that, as your kids grow up, can become a precious record. And it will make a touching wedding gift years later.
Resources Drucker, Malka. The Family Treasury of Jewish Holidays. Little, Brown and Company. Fishman, Cathy Goldberg. On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Aladdin Picture Books. Gerstein, Mordicai. The White Ram: A Story of Abraham and Isaac. Holiday House.
Jules, Jacqueline. The Hardest Word. Kar-Ben Publishing. Kimmel, Eric A. Gershon’s Monster: A Story for the Jewish New Year. Scholastic Press. Kimmelman, Leslie. Sound the Shofar! HaperCollins. Musleah, Rahel, and Rabbi Michael Klayman. Sharing Blessings: Children’s Stories for Exploring the Spirit of the Jewish Holidays. Jewish Lights Publishing. Siegel, Baruch H. The Magic of Kol Nidre: A Yom Kippur Story. Kar-Ben Publishing. Singer, Marilyn. Minnie’s Yom Kippur Birthday. HarperCollins Children’s Books.
Ways We Missed the Mark Ways We Missed the Mark
What We Need to Do to Hit the Bull's Eye.
Sukkot Focus Sukkot is the Jewish camping holiday. Winter is coming. Soon it will be dark early. Cold is coming. And in the fall, with winter on its way, the Jewish tradition sends us out of doors and says, “Get close to nature.”
Then, once out in the dark, we remember the past. We talk about three times when we have been in the sukkah before: (1) when we spent forty years in the wilderness; (2) when we harvested our fields in ancient Israel; and (3) when we brought our gifts to the Temple in Jerusalem. Each night of sukkot we make another connection to the past when we do uzpizin, the inviting of ancient famous Jews to join us in our booth.
Central Idea Sukkot reenacts three stories: a) forty years in the wilderness; b) the fall harvest; c) the pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
Enabling Ideas • The lulav reminds us that God is everywhere. • The sukkah connects us to the past when we invite visitors from our history. • The sukkah is the Jewish opportunity to decorate. Starters 1. Discussion. Have you ever gone camping? Slept outside? What’s the difference between sleeping outside and sleeping at home in your bed? Make two lists. First list: sleeping at home. Possible responses: comfortable, warm, familiar, safe. Second list: sleeping outside. Possible responses: cold, uncomfortable, exciting; hear new sounds like the wind; feel the breeze; smell the trees. What can you learn about God when you sleep outside? 2. Question for discussion. Ask students: Where does food come from? In order to help students discover the origin of food as a gift from God, push them to do some big thinking. How did the food get to the store? What is the food made from? How does God help us grow food? 3. Begin with a story, Night Lights, by Barbara Diamond Goldin. Daniel and his sister spend the night in the family sukkah. They are faced with scary noises, lack of modern conveniences (like a place to plug in the night light), and a comforting solution. This story embodies a lot of the important ideas about Sukkot, the rules for building a sukkah, and the three stories that Sukkot tells us.
Developing the Ideas 1. Time travel. Being in a sukkah is like being in a time machine. When we’re in the sukkah we travel to three different times in Jewish history. a. When we left Egypt and spent forty years wandering in the desert, we lived in sukkot. b. When Jews came to the land of Israel, they became farmers and lived in sukkot while crops were harvested. Ask: Why was it convenient to put up sukkot right near the crops that were being harvested? c. When the farmers made the long pilgrimage to Jerusalem to bring some of their crops, they lived in sukkot. Ask the students: Why do you think the farmers needed to build sukkot on their pilgrimage to Jerusalem? 2. A sukkah is like a booth or a hut. Invite students to help you list words and phrases that tell the differences between a house and a sukkah. In ancient times, how did a sukkah save time? Why was a sukkah useful? 3. It’s a mitzvah to eat and sleep in the sukkah. One of the ways we can bring the Torah to life is to eat and/or sleep in a sukkah. Ask students: Have you ever visited a sukkah? Eaten in a sukkah? Slept in a sukkah? Invite children to tell their sukkah stories. 4. Read “Three Green Things and a Yellow Thing” by Marc Gellman (God’s Mailbox). It’s a wonderful modern midrash in which God and Moses have a discussion. God shares an idea about how people in modern times will remember the land and the tent and the sheep of biblical times. 5. Arrange to bring an etrog and a lulav to class. Explain to students that the lulav and etrog help us celebrate sukkot because they connect us to God. Shaking the lulav in all directions shows that God is everywhere. Invite everyone to touch and smell, then make a group list of words that describe the four species. The etrog looks like a lemon and has a stem called a pitome. It has a wonderful sweet smell. An easy way to remember the composition of the lulav is 3, 2, 1: three myrtle branches, two willow branches, one straight, tall palm. (Later, students will make lulavim to take home.)
Projects and Activities Deepen the understanding of Sukkot by doing some of the following. 1. Make a collaborative book. Photocopy a page for each student on which a partial sentence is written, followed by a line for the students to complete. “I stand tall like a lulav when I __________.” Each student has a page, fills in the sentence (or whispers his/her idea to the teacher, who fills in the sentence), and illustrates the idea. Pages are collated. One student is chosen to make the cover. Read the entire book to the class, then add it to the class library. 2. Make a Sukkot big book, using tag board for pages and decorating it with a variety of art supplies. Suggestions for content follow. Cover: Tell Me about Sukkot Page 1: Sukkot is a Time for Jewish Camping Page 2: A Sukkah Looks Like a Hut That Has Branches on the Roof Page 3: It Is a Mitzvah to Eat and Sleep in the Sukkah
Page 4: I Can See Stars at Night through the Roof of My Sukkah Page 5: On Sukkot We Wave the Lulav and Etrog Page 6: Sukkot is a Time to Say Hag Sameah! 3. Make a lulav and etrog from construction paper. Learn the blessing and practice shaking. (See directions in The Jewish Holiday Craft Book, pages 46–48. Take green and yellow 11” x 18” construction paper, roll two pieces of each color lengthwise to make a tube, and tape it closed. Cut lengthwise slits in the paper halfway down the tube and gently pull the “leaves” down. For an extra touch, you can try curling some of the leaves. 4. A stuffed etrog can be made by cutting out two large yellow pieces of construction paper and punching evenly spaced holes around the perimeter. Give students colored yarn to weave two etrogim together. Stuff the etrogim with tissue paper or newsprint. 5. Invite students to be a lulav. Ask them to shake like a lulav. Ask some of the following questions: What do you see? What do you feel? What do you hear? 6. Use construction paper to cut branches of willow, myrtle, and palm. Show students how to make a holder for their lulavim. See 100+ Jewish Art Projects for Children, page 17. 7. In The Reluctant Artist (page 50) Laurie Bellet shows how to decorate a clay flowerpot and use the flowers both for decoration and to hold 3” x 5” cards that contain the Sukkot blessings. 8. Make gingerbread sukkot (Jewish Holiday Treats, page 36) or graham cracker sukkot to take home. Use them first as a centerpiece in the sukkah and then eat for dessert. 9. An edible sukkah: Spread ready-made frosting (any flavor) on the bottom of a 10” plate. Place 3½ graham crackers standing up in the frosting for the sukkah sides. Place twigshaped pretzels as slats on top. Squeeze some green cake-decorating frosting on the top of the pretzels for schach. Decorate the top of the sukkah with fruit-shaped candy. Enjoy! 10. Sukkot is an authentically Jewish time to decorate. Pictures, paper chains, blessings chains, mobiles, recycled Shanah Tovah cards, fruits, vegetables, gourds, stalks of wheat can all be used for decoration. In class, make decorations for home or synagogue sukkot. a. Stuffed oranges. Oranges stuffed with cloves make the sukkah smell like autumn. Using wooden skewers, poke holes in the oranges and stuff whole cloves in the holes. b. Papier-mâché fruit. Make papier-mâché fruit to hang in the sukkah. You can do papier-mâché easily with strips of newsprint and glue or starch. Form fruit shapes out of paper. Place a strip of newsprint on the form and, using a paintbrush or fingers, “paint” the strip of paper onto your shape with glue or starch. When dry, paint the fruit, add embellishments, and attach string. Hang the fruit in the sukkah. c. Illuminated fruit. Draw the outline of a favorite fruit. Help students sketch in the Hebrew letters that spell the name of the fruit in Hebrew, or your students’ names. Color and highlight the outlines of the Hebrew letters with gold or silver paint. Cut out about ¼” outside the shape of the fruit. d. Nature collage. Use fallen leaves, grass, and/or dried flowers. Glue “nature” onto your paper, then brush varnish or clear glue over the surface of the leaves and petals for a glossy effect.
e. Stained-glass windows. Make a “window” for the sukkah. Have students draw a picture of what they might see outside the window of their sukkot. When finished, take pieces of plastic wrap and tape them over the picture. Glue small pieces of tissue paper onto the plastic wrap. When the window is dry, frame it and hang it in the sukkah. 11. Sukkot is a wonderful time to invite parents to join their children for a brief program (the first or last twenty minutes of class) in the sukkah. Give a list of things to do in the sukkah — sign, eat, bless, shake with a real lulav and etrog. Each family makes a blessings chain…can’t say leishev ba sukkah without eating…don’t forget to say the blessing before eating. 12. Use fall fruits and vegetables to make food to take to and eat in the sukkah. Here are four simple food projects to choose from. a. As a class, cut open a pumpkin, scoop out the goop, pick out the seeds. Bake, salt, and eat the seeds for snacks. b. Cut open and scoop out a pumpkin. Using a simple fruit compote recipe, load up the pumpkin with the fruit compote and bake the whole thing. c. Scoop out a pumpkin, fill with soup, and bake. The pumpkin is both saucepan and soup tureen. d. Dates come from palm trees, which is the source of the tall, straight palm branch of the lulav. As a class, make a simple date bread to eat or take home. Make extra breads to wrap and take to a senior residence (familiarize yourself with kashrut rules at Jewish senior homes). 13. Make your own classroom sukkah. Build the frame out of PVC plastic tubing found in hardware stores, and allow the students to decorate it. To make the roof, hang netting over the top of the frame and decorate it with leaves, plastic or paper fruit, and paper chains. Be sure to have a snack in your class sukkah, and give each child the opportunity to shake the lulav. Barbara Aiello, a first-grade teacher in Florida, sent us the following idea: Her class turned classroom tables on their sides and laid palm fronds over the extended legs to form the roof. Then they strung blinking white lights through the palms, and the children created and hung their own stars. If you live in a place where palm fronds or cornstalks are not available, use the suggestions above for making the roof. The brakhot for entering the sukkah and “bensching”(saying a prayer over) lulav are: .
Barukh Attah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu leishev ba-sukkah. Praised are You, Eternal, our God, Ruler of the Cosmos, the One Who makes us holy through the mitzvot and made it a mitzvah for us to sit in the sukkah. .
Barukh Attah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al n’tilat lulav. Praised are You, Eternal, our God, Ruler of the Cosmos, Who makes us holy through the mitzvot and made it a mitzvah for us to shake the lulav.
14. Shalom stars. On a clear night, one should be able to see the stars while sitting in the sukkah. Make stars to hang in the sukkah. Directions: Make multiple copies of a star template or draw your own stars. Use glitter or glow-in-the-dark crayons to decorate each one. The stars can also be used as a frame for family photos or ushpizin symbols. Staple each star to a ribbon, attach the ribbon to a hanger, and hang from the sukkah. Songs Debbie Friedman’s “What’s Inside the Sukkah?” — Teach the song. Sing it a few times, then invite the class to make up some new verses. The catchy song teaches the blessings for sitting in the sukkah and shaking the lulav. It’s almost a complete lesson. Joe Black, “Building a Sukkah” on Alef Bet Boogie As a class, add a Sukkot verse to the Sing-a-Long Song you began on Rosh ha-Sahanah. Or begin to teach the song now, as a review of Rosh Ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur and an opportunity to begin adding a new verse for every Jewish holiday.
Endings 1. What do we build, shake, remember on Sukkot? 2. Review. What three stories does Sukkot tell us?
Family Education 1. We have a tradition called ushpizin in which we invite famous Jewish biblical figures to dine with us in our sukkot. This usually means the best-known males in the Bible, but why not include important Jewish personalities/leaders, both male and female? Invite parents to class and teach about the festival of Sukkot and the tradition of ushpizin. Prepare packets with biographies of important Jews and distribute a packet to each family. Have parents review the biographies, perhaps while students finish their folders, and then parents may teach something about these individuals to their children. Together they can then select one “guest” to invite to their sukkah. Now comes the really fun part: Have parents do a body tracing of their child from butcher paper (it comes in rolls). Parents and children then can decorate the body tracing with a variety of materials to make it look like their invited sukkah guest. If possible, attach the pictures to the walls of your synagogue’s sukkah for all to enjoy. Don’t forget to label each creation with the name of the ushpiz and the name of the family who welcomes him or her into the sukkah. Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project. • Check with your principal for permission to hang the completed ushpizin in your synagogue’s sukkah or on your school’s walls. • Reserve appropriate space to be able to spread out and work on the floor. • Send an explanatory note or flier to parents at least two weeks in advance of this activity. • Collect supplies: butcher (or other large) paper, markers and crayons, scissors, yarn, fabric scraps and felt, a hole punch (for hanging the pictures with string in the sukkah).
2. Prepare biography packets. The Encyclopedia Judaica Junior is a good resource. I like to use the following people: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob, Leah, and Rachel, Moses and Miriam, Deborah, King David, Golda Meir.
At Home (Family Opportunities) Sukkot provides eight days of opportunities to demonstrate hakhnaset orhim — hospitality — by inviting friends and family to eat in the sukkah. • Send home directions for building a sukkah. See Siegel, Strassfeld and Strassfeld, The First Jewish Catalog (JPS) or Olitsky and Isaacs, The How To Handbook For Jewish Living, Book I, page 65 (KTAV Publishing, Inc.). • Invite families to purchase sukkah kits from online sites. (They are really easy to find). • Families can shop together for fruits, vegetables, and gourds to decorate their own sukkah, a friend’s sukkah, or the synagogue sukkah. Be sure to buy extra fruits and vegetables for the food bank. (This is a modern way of gleaning. We’ll learn more about that on Shavuot.) • Send home directions for making a “blessings chain”. Cut strips of construction paper in rectangles that are 1½” x 11” As a family, work together to think of all the good things that happened in the past year. Write one blessing on each rectangle. Make the first rectangle into a circle. Link the second to the first. Continue linking blessing to blessing (like a traditional paper chain) until you have a chain long enough to hang in the sukkah. Use the chain to decorate your home sukkah. Or invite the families to bring their blessings chains to hang in the synagogue sukkah. A variation: Invite parents to bring their blessings strips to the family event. As part of the program, families can make their strips into circles and link one family’s blessings to another. • Find one or two families who know how to build a sukkah. Arrange for these families to help other families build a sukkah. • Organize a synagogue sukkah visit. List, by neighborhood or zip code, those families who build sukkot and are willing to set aside a particular afternoon for synagogue families to visit. • Send home a Sukkot bookmark that lists five or six books about Sukkot that parents can get from the synagogue library to read at home. • Etrog pomander — keep it in a place where its beautiful smell will remind the whole family of Sukkot (e.g., the drawer where you keep dish towels or placemats). • Send home a list of places where parents can purchase a lulav and etrog, or order them online.
Resources Chaikin, Miriam. Shake a Palm Branch: The Story and Meaning of Sukkot. Houghton Mifflin Company. A good resource for parents. Drucker, Malka. Sukkot: A Time to Rejoice. New York: Holiday House. Informative for parents. Lots of Sukkot games, recipes, and activities. Fishman, Cathy Goldberg. On Sukkot and Simchat Torah. Kar-Ben Publishing. Geller, Beverly Mach. The Mystery of the Missing Pitom. Gefen Publishing House.
Goldin, Barbara Diamond. Night Lights: A Sukkot Story. Harcourt Brace and Company. Kimmel, Eric A. The Mysterious Guests: A Sukkot Story. Holiday House. Lepon, Shoshana. Hillel Builds a House. Kar-Ben Publishing. Musleah, Rahel, and Rabbi Michael Klayman. Sharing Blessings: Children’s Stories for Exploring the Spirit of the Jewish Holidays. Jewish Lights Publishing. Pfeffer, Wendy. We Gather Together: Celebrating the Harvest Season. Dutton Juvenile. Schram, Peninnah. The BIG Sukkah. Kar-Ben Publishing. Terwilliger, Kelly. Bubbe Isabella and the Sukkot Cake. Kar-Ben Publishing. Weilerstein, Sadie Rose. K’tonton’s Sukkot Adventure. Jewish Publication Society. Youdovin, Susan Schaalman. Why Does It Always Rain on Sukkot? Albert Whitman and Company.
Simhat Torah Focus Simhat Torah has a simple story: “As soon as we finish reading the Torah, we immediately go back to the beginning and start again.” The lesson for Jews is that Torah is a neverending process.
When we study Simhat Torah we speak of Torah. There are the five books — Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. There are the garments of the Torah — the cover, the breastplate, the crown, etc. Finally, there is the process of Torah reading — the weekly parshiot, the aliyot, etc. Then there are the aspects of simhah, celebration. We celebrate with singing and dancing, flags and Torah parades. Simhat Torah is one of the most fun times to go to synagogue.
Central Idea Simhat Torah shows that Jews never stop studying Torah.
Enabling Ideas • The Torah is a gift from God. It teaches us how to live a good Jewish life. • A simhah is a special occasion, a moment of celebration. • Aliyah, a going up, is the name for a Torah honor. • The way we dress and the customs built up around handling the Torah reflect the respect we have for it. Starters 1. Take the class to the sanctuary. Open the ark, take out a Torah, open it, and invite students to examine it. While in the sanctuary, invite students to ask whatever questions they have about the Torah. Write each question on an index card for a later discussion. Teach children how to kiss the Torah before returning it to the ark. 2. Ask: Do you have a favorite book or movie that you like to hear or see over and over and over? Collect the titles. The Torah is like that. It is so important to the Jewish people, and there’s so much to learn from the Torah, that we read it over and over and over. We never let the Torah end. The moment we finish reading it we start it over again. We move straight from the moment Moses dies to the beginning of the world. 3. Ask: “Who has seen a parade?” Ask students to describe what they saw. Make a list of reasons we have parades. Introduce the holiday of Simhat Torah by explaining that it is a pa-
rade holiday during which we celebrate finishing reading the Torah and immediately begin to read it again. Remind students of the greeting hag sameah. 4. Show students the first and last words in the Torah — Bereshit and Yisrael. Circle the letter bet in bereshit (the first letter) and the letter lamed in Yisrael (the last letter). Draw big hearts around the words. When you switch the order of the two letters so that you have lamed, then bet, they spell the word lev, which means heart. Ask the students, “Why do we think of heart when we think of Torah?” This is an important exercise for making Jewish memories even if you do not know Hebrew. Perhaps you can ask your principal or rabbi for help in making a poster you can use. If you wish, take this idea a step further and make a bulletin board. In the center of the board draw a large heart composed of the words Bereshit and Yisrael. Repeat the pattern of the words several times, if necessary, to complete the heart. In the center of the heart write the word lev. Decorate the bulletin boards with quotes from your students regarding the connection between Torah and heart. You may wish to reproduce this to be sent home. • Discussion. How do you take care of a special treasure? Students may say that they keep treasures in a box under the bed or in a special drawer. Jews keep their special treasure in the ark. Who knows what we keep in the ark? Why is the Torah our most important treasure? The Torah is a gift from God that teaches us how to be good, how to make the world better, and how to get close to God. • List some ways we treat and honor a very important person — the president, a king or queen. Tell the students that because the Torah is so important to the Jewish people, we treat it very carefully and respectfully, and we dress it in special clothes. • Introduce this topic by reading Rafi’s Search for the Torah Munching Monster by Rabbi Steven L. Mills (Torah Aura Productions).
Developing the Ideas 1. List some ways we take care of very precious things. The Torah is our most precious book. In this lesson we’ll talk about what’s inside the Torah and ways we take care of it. 2. Read the first story in the Torah, the creation story, from A Child’s Garden of Torah. The story ends on Shabbat, when God rested, and also sets up the learning for the rest of the year when it says, “This was the end of beginnings. Now the world was ready for the rest of the stories.” 3. As a class, create a Torah cinquain. A cinquain is a form of poetry that uses a recipe. It’s easy and easily adapted to any topic. The cinquain has five lines. • The first line is one word and names the subject. • The second line is two words that describe the subject. • The third line is three action words about the subject. • The fourth line is a four- or five-word phrase that describes the subject (a thought, not a complete sentence). • The fifth line is one word that means the same thing as the first word and sums up the poem. Example: (Line 1) Torah (Line 4) Jewish ways to live (Line 2) Holy Book (Line 5) Rededication (Line 3) Glowing, shining, burning
Write the cinquain on a large piece of poster paper that has been cut in the shape of a Torah.
Projects and Activities Deepen the understanding of Simhat Torah by doing some of the following activities. 1. Make a flag for the hakafah. Explain that one way we celebrate the Torah is to march around with flags. Dowels for the sticks can be obtained from home or hardware stores. A safety covering on top of the dowel (even play-dough) is a good idea to protect eyes and other body parts from a wild hakafah. With young children, you may wish to use an empty paper towel roll or even rolled construction paper in lieu of a wooden dowel. Decorate the flags with a variety of materials, but be sure to include Jewish symbols (one of my students wrote “GO, TORAH”). 2. Make a life-size stuffed Torah to keep in the classroom. Create a breastplate, keter, yad and Torah cover. Throughout the year students can practice carrying and dressing the Torah. 3. Cereal box Torah. Use a small, empty cereal box for the aron ha-kodesh (the special cabinet where the Torah is kept). Paint or cover the box with wrapping paper. Make a scroll of white paper to fit into the box. Secure with ribbon or yarn and place in the aron ha-kodesh. 4. Class Torah. You may wish to take butcher paper and make a large class Torah scroll to which you can add lessons learned from each week’s parashah. Students can learn about and create Torah coverings and ornaments that will be removed and replaced weekly as the class Torah expands, encouraging familiarity with our most precious possession. 5. Begin today by drawing the creation story. 6. Make a class collaborative book. Make circular pages and a circular cover. Title the book “The Torah is a circle.” On each page a child will dictate a sentence that begins A_______ is a circle. Each student fills in the blank and illustrates his/her sentence. Bind the pages together and read the book to the class. Place the book in the classroom library. Make a class collaborative book. Cut the cover and pages in the shape of a Torah. My favorite Torah story is ________________ . 7. A consecration ceremony is often held in conjunction with Simhat Torah, and children often receive a gift of a miniature Torah. Before they receive a Torah scroll, introduce your students to the concept of kedushah (holiness). For young children, kedushah may be defined as “specialness.” Ask students to enlist a parent’s help in finding an appropriate place in their homes for their Torah scroll.
8. Candied Apples Ingredients 5 or 6 apples and sticks to mount them on 2 cups sugar ⅔ cup light corn syrup 1 cup water chopped nuts to decorate (optional) Directions 1. Push the sticks into the apples. 2. Place sugar, corn syrup, and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Cook this liquid with a cover on it for a few minutes. Crystals may form on the sides of the pot; cook until steam has washed the crystals away. Uncover and continue to cook without stirring until the syrup begins to harden or reaches 290 degrees on a candy thermometer. 3. Quickly dip the apples in the syrup. Cool them on a metal pan or tray and roll them in nuts, if desired.
Caramel-Glazed Apples Ingredients 5 or 6 apples 1 lb. caramels 2 tsp. water Directions 1. Push the sticks into the apples. 2. Melt the caramels with the water in a saucepan. 3. Dip the apples in the caramel and let them cool, as in the previous recipe. You may refrigerate these if you want them to become firm more quickly.
Be sure to have a parent or teaching assistant help you with any kitchen activities involving children. You may also need advance permission from your principal. Don’t forget to check for food allergies before offering snacks in school (nuts can be particularly hazardous to some children). 9. Show a humash. We don’t have a Torah in our home. But the same stories, laws, and teachings are in the humash. Show the first words in Bereishit and the last words in Deuteronomy. Find the same places in the Torah. Teach the rules of humash etiquette — if it drops on the floor, we pick it up and kiss it to show respect. We don’t pile any other books (except another humash) on top of it. 10. Read Eric Ray’s Sofer. Invite a sofer to come to class to talk about how a Torah is written and to demonstrate how some of the letters are made. Deepen the understanding of Torah by doing some of the following. 11. Make a mini-Torah. Nina Streisand Sher’s 100+ Jewish Art Projects for Children has wonderful directions for making a mini-Torah and all the things for dressing the Torah — mantle, yad, breastplate, rimonim, and crown. 12. A variation. Make the Torah mantle, yad, breastplate and crown big enough to fit the children in your class. Invite the children to “be a Torah.” While dressed like the Torah, ask
some of the following questions: What do you see? What do you feel? What do you hear? Ask the Torah to tell some of its stories. 13. Teach Rabbi Joe Black’s song about the Torah from Alef Bet Boogie. 14. Make Torah sandwiches for snack time. Using a slice of white bread, cut off the crusts and spread with filling. Roll each side to the center to look like a torah. Try using large pretzels for the atzei hayyim. 15. Try two ways to address the Torah. a. Take the Torah, lift it carefully, and walk around the room while students touch the Torah, then kiss their fingers. b. Ask students to get in line behind you and join in a hakafah (Torah parade). 16. Invite parents to join the class in the sanctuary. Set up two long rows of chairs facing each other. Parents and students sit in the chairs while the rabbi unrolls the Torah on their laps.
Endings 1. Respond to any of the Torah question cards that are still unanswered. 2. Review. List all the things we know about the Torah and about Simhat Torah.
Family Education 1. Invite parents to join in a special class activity in which you will learn about Simhat Torah and create family Torahs. Prepare some background information on what is found in each of the Five Books of the Torah and distribute it to parents. Perhaps you can arrange for a rabbi to teach the parents as you prepare the children. When parents and children come together, have parents teach their children from the material you distributed to them. Now it is time to create the family Torahs. Give each family a booklet with the following pages: Cover — The (name of the family) Family Torah Page 1: Bereishit (Genesis). Bereishit tells the story of the ancestors of our people. Here is the story of the ancestors of our Jewish family. page 2: Shemot (Exodus). Shemot tells the story of the Jewish people changing and growing up. Here’s how our family is changing and growing. page 3: Va-Yikra (Leviticus). Va-Yikra teaches us about what the Jewish people stand for, about our values and the laws for living. Our family has values and rules; here are some of them and why they are important. page 4: Be-Midbar (Numbers). Be-Midbar tells of the Jewish people wandering in the desert and of challenges they faced. Here are some challenges our family has faced or is facing. (If you have moved, this can also be included here.) page 5: Devarim (Deuteronomy). Devarim is the record of how Moses said goodbye to our people. It sometimes repeats things we read before and tells of his hopes, dreams, and fears for his people. Here are some things our family hopes, dreams, and fears.
Parents can write; children can share ideas and illustrate. Be sure to bind the booklets. 2. An alternative is to write and draw the family Torah on large pieces of butcher paper. If your class will be participating in a family service, see if you can obtain permission to hang these word and picture murals on the walls leading into the sanctuary for all to see.
At Home (Family Opportunities) • Invite parents to the Simhat Torah service in the synagogue. • Send home directions for making a flag or family banner to bring to the service. • If this service is a consecration service for their children, suggest that parents give their students the gift of a Jewish book to mark the special occasion. Suggest that they also purchase a book for the synagogue library, with appropriate bookplate, in honor of their child’s consecration. • Send home a simple form that asks parents to share their favorite Torah story with their child or tell something about their favorite Torah person. • Recommend some books (see Resources below) of Torah stories for parents to read at home. Develop a few “To Talk About” questions about each story. Write the questions on a 4”x 6” card and tuck it into the book. Encourage parents to read Jewish stories at bedtime just before saying Shema. Goldin, Barbara Diamond. 101 Jewish Read-Aloud Stories. Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers. Grishaver, Joel Lurie. A Child’s Garden of Torah: A Read-Aloud Bible. Torah Aura Productions. (At the end of each story there are “thinking questions” and “imagining questions.”)
Resources For making Israeli flags • Fast, Clean and Cheap (Torah Aura Productions). Simon Kops (page 81) has directions for making and lacing an Israeli flag. • 100+ Jewish Art Projects for Children (Kar-Ben Publishing). Page 20 has directions for making an Israeli flag banner. • You can purchase egalitarian one- or two-sided Simhat Torah flags from Torah Aura. Go to http://www.torahaura.com/ItemDetails.aspx?ItemNo=SIMCHATTORAHFLAG1.
Music Aleph Bet Boogie by Rabbi Joe Black. Sounds Write Productions, Inc.
Books Brin, Ruth Esrig. Jewish Holiday Crafts for Little Hands. Kar-Ben Publishing. Cohen, Deborah Bodin. Engineer Ari and the Sukkah Express. Kar-Ben Publishing. Feldman, Marget A., and Nina Streisand Sher. 100+ Jewish Art Projects for Children. A.R.E. Publishing. Fishman, Cathy Goldberg. On Sukkot and Simchat Torah. Kar-Ben Publishing. Frankel, Ellen. JPS Illustrated Children’s Bible. Jewish Publication Society. Grishaver, Joel Lurie. A Child’s Garden of Torah. Torah Aura Productions.
Mills, Rabbi Steven. Rafi’s Search for the Torah Munching Monster. Alef Design Group. Musleah, Rahel, and Rabbi Michael Klayman. Sharing Blessings: Children’s Stories for Exploring the Spirit of the Jewish Holidays. Jewish Lights Publishing. Ray, Eric. Sofer: The Story of a Torah Scroll. Torah Aura Publications. Sasso, Sandy Eisenberg. Adam and Eve’s First Sunset. Jewish Lights Publishing. Sasso, Sandy Eisenberg. But God Remembered. Jewish Lights Publishing. Sasso, Sandy Eisenberg. Cain and Abel. Jewish Lights Publishing. Sasso, Sandy Eisenberg. Noah’s Wife. Jewish Lights Publishing. The Torah
Shabbat Focus Shabbat is the day of rest. We rest on Shabbat because God rested on Shabbat during the creation of the world. We also rest on Shabbat because when Moses dealt with Pharoah, Shabbat was the first taste of freedom given to the Jews during their slavery in Egypt. For us it is holy time that allows us to stop making things out of creation and to sit back and just enjoy creation.
Shabbat is described as both a bride and a queen. We have a sense of Shabbat entering and then later leaving. Shabbat, when we celebrate it, is a special break in the week, turning our thoughts from work to creation and connecting us to God. Each part of Shabbat has its own feeling. Friday night, Erev Shabbat, is a time for gathering as a family. Shabbat morning is a synagogue time, with a special focus on the Torah. The end of Shabbat, Saturday evening, is a bittersweet time when we are both sad to end Shabbat and excited about all the things to which we return. Shabbat begins with three things: candles, wine, and hallah. Shabbat ends with three things: a candle, wine, and fragrant spices used as part of the Havdalah service, marking the end of Shabbat and a return to our weekday routine. Havdalah means “separation” or “distinction”. The last blessing of the brief Havdalah service reminds us of the separation or distinction between the holy and the ordinary, between light and darkness, between Israel and other nations, between Shabbat and the other days of the week. Havdalah teaches us that to be holy we need to set some things apart (such as Shabbat).
Central Idea Shabbat is a day for familial and community gatherings during which we pray, study Torah, celebrate life cycle events, and spend time with family and friends.
Enabling Ideas • Shabbat is a redemptive force. • Shabbat reenacts exodus and creation. • Shabbat can be a transformative experience. • Making distinctions — recognizing different kinds of time and setting them apart as special — is a holy act. • The end of Shabbat mirrors the beginning of Shabbat. Three symbols mark both the beginning of Shabbat and the end of Shabbat. Shabbat begins with candles, wine, and a twisted loaf of hallah. We end Shabbat with a twisted candle, wine, and spices. • Jewish days start at night to imitate God creating out of nothing. 39
Starters 1. Show a photograph of a bride. Ask students to describe how a bride looks and some of the special ways we treat brides. Explain that Shabbat is like a bride. We welcome Shabbat by singing l’kha dodi — come, let’s greet the bride. 2. Symbols tell the story. Students come into class to find a table set with a white tablecloth. On the table: candlesticks with shabbat candles, a kiddush cup, a covered hallah, a tzedakah box. Ask students to guess what holiday is represented and to tell what they know about each symbol. a. Sing a Shabbat song. b. Put a few coins (it’s nice to give each child something to put in) in the tzedakah box. c. Sing or say the blessing over the candles. d. Say the birkot ha-mishpahah. e. Sing Shalom Aleihem and say “Shabbat Shalom” to everyone around the table. f. Sing or say the kiddush. g. Sing or say ha-Motzi. Explain each step as you perform it. If you are not comfortable with all of these steps, invite someone to help you. The most important thing here is for the students to get a feel for what is done on Erev Shabbat and for the warmth generated by practicing the Erev Shabbat home rituals. You may want to repeat this a few times, giving different children a chance to lead. Share Erev Shabbat stories. Who celebrates Shabbat at home? Have any children been to a special Shabbat somewhere? What was it like? What do they remember most? What is special about it? In some homes Erev Shabbat is a favorite time for each member of the family to go around the table sharing something special about their week or a hope for the week to come. Have students participate in this activity, or suggest that they try this with their parents at home, or collect ideas from students of what a family might do or share together before the Shabbat meal. Make a list and post it on a special bulletin board labeled Erev Shabbat Suggestions. Copy the list and send it home with objects and information for parents on how to “make Shabbat” at home. How did Shabbat begin? When was the first Shabbat? Using A Child’s Garden of Torah, read the creation story. Then invite students to act out the things that God created each day. Use fabrics, magic foam, blue tissue paper or shimmery fabric for water, stuffed animals, dolls, and plastic figures. Read the story a second time while small groups of children show the water, land, sun, moon, stars, plants, animals, and people. How will the students demonstrate resting? Who has been on a wonderful trip? Where did you go? What did you/your family do to prepare for the trip? What did you do and see while you were there? Were you sorry when the trip ended? What are some of the things you did to make it last in your memory? Shabbat and Havdalah are like going on a trip to someplace special and coming back. Havdalah helps
us say good bye to Shabbat. Havdalah also helps us hold in our minds the smells and tastes and ideas and feelings about Shabbat. 3. Set induction: Introducing the concept of Motzei Shabbat Before class begins, place three glow-in-the-dark stickers (if you can get the kind that are shaped like stars, that would be great) on the ceiling of your classroom. Later you can shut off the lights in your room and pretend that you have spotted the three stars in the sky, marking the end of Shabbat. Ask students to think about the order of a day — how a day starts, what happens during a day, and how a day ends. List some activities that occur during the day on the board or on a flip chart. Remind children that Jewish days start at night, which is why Shabbat and holidays begin at sundown (remember in Genesis, “and there was evening and there was morning.” Evening came first). Discuss what happenings mark the beginning, middle, and end of a day. Meals, bedtime routines, etc. will probably be among the things that come up. Explain that “Just as with an ordinary day, the beginning, middle, and end of Shabbat are marked by certain events. Today we are going to talk about Havdalah, which marks the end of Shabbat.” Explain that there is a special signal that lets us know that Shabbat is over. See if students can guess what it is. “Our signal for the end of an ordinary day is when we go to bed. On Shabbat our special signal is seeing three stars in the sky; that tells us that it is time for Havdalah.” 4. Ordinary and holy. Set out a tray that contains a paper cup, a glass, a kiddush cup, some birthday candles, a yahrtzeit candle, a votive candle, a party candle, some Shabbat candles, a loaf of bread, and a hallah. Ask students to divide the items in two groups. How did they make the decision? Discuss the items in each group. How is each used? What is the difference between the two groups? Label both groups. 5. Questions for discussion. How do you hold on to something you can’t touch? How do you make something wonderful last as long as possible? How can you make a day longer? Havdalah helps us hold onto Shabbat and helps us say goodbye to Shabbat.
Developing the Ideas 1. Read A Sense of Shabbat by Faige Kobre (Torah Aura Productions). This is a collection of beautiful black-and-white photographs with text that emphasize the sights, smells, and sounds of Shabbat. After reading the book and showing the pictures, make a chart with three columns: sights, smells, sounds. Ask students to list descriptive words for each column. 2. Read On Shabbat by Cathy Goldberg Fishman, Atheneum Books For Young Readers. The beautiful watercolor drawings and simple story, told through the eyes of a child, cover Shabbat and Havdalah symbols and concepts. 3. Shabbat begins with three things: candles, wine, hallah. The candles, wine, and hallah have unique blessings and tell individual stories. Candles. When we light the Shabbat candles and say the blessing we turn an ordinary day into Shabbat.
The two candles tell two stories. One candle tells us to remember that God created the world and God rested on Shabbat, so we should follow God’s example and rest on Shabbat. The other candle tells us that we need to do more than remember; we need to keep (guard) Shabbat. Wine. The words of the kiddush make Shabbat a holy time. The kiddush tells us that grapes grow on vines. The words of the kiddush (in the longer version) remind us of two Torah stories: the stories of the times when God created the world and brought us out of Egypt so that we could be a free people. The kiddush reminds us to thank God for all of God’s creations in the world and to remember how special our freedom is. When we say the kiddush we remind ourselves to rest from creating on Shabbat, imitating what God did after creating the world. Hallah. When we eat hallah on Shabbat we remember when we wandered in the desert for forty years and God fed us with manna. When we say ha-motzi we remind ourselves that God and people are partners in making the food we eat. 4. Make a class collaborative book. My favorite thing about Shabbat is _____________. 5. Practice saying the Shabbat table brakhot. You might want to practice these brakhot every week. Make the practice a part of the weekly circle time. 6. Read a Shabbat story. Here are some suggestions. God Must Like Cookies, Too, by Carol Snyder, Jewish Publication Society, 1993. Just Enough Room, by Miriam P. Feinberg. Joseph Who Loved the Sabbath, retold by Marilyn Hirsh, Picture Puffins. Mrs. Moskowitz and the Sabbath Candlesticks, by Amy Schwartz, Jewish Publication Society, 1991. The Very Best Place for a Penny, by Dina Rosenfeld, Kehot Publishing, 1985. 7. Set a table with Havdalah ritual items. Go through a Havdalah service. This may be a new experience for your students. You may want to invite a parent, madrikh or rabbi to lead the service and to answer questions. Include the blessings, the singing of Eliahu ha-Navi and Shavua Tov. There are four steps for your Havdalah service (point out and explain each as you proceed). The brakhah over the wine (yayin) We use wine in every Jewish celebration. Say the brakhah and take a sip of wine or grape juice, then pass the wine or juice around and encourage everyone to take a sip. .
Barukh Attah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha-Olam Borei Pri ha-Gafen. Praised are You, Adonai, Ruler of the Cosmos, Who creates the fruit of the vine.
The brakhah over the spices We use spices to remind us of the sweetness of Shabbat in the coming week. Say the brakhah and inhale the spices. You should pass the spice box around and encourage everyone to take a deep breath. .
Barukh Attah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam, borei minei v’samim. Praised are You, Adonai, Ruler of the Cosmos, Who creates kinds of spice. The brakhah over the candlelight Point out that the ceremonies for the beginning of Shabbat and the end of Shabbat are almost the same, except in reverse order. We end Shabbat by extinguishing the candle, whereas we welcomed Shabbat by lighting the candles. .
Barukh Attah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam, borei m’orei ha-esh. Praised are You, Adonai, Ruler of the Cosmos, Who creates the lights of the fire. The Havdalah brakhah, before extinguishing the candle in the wine . , , .
Barukh Attah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam, ha-mavdil bein kodesh l’hol, bein or l’hoshekh, bein Yisrael l’amim, bein yom ha-shvi’i l’sheshet y’mei ha-ma’aseh. Barukh Attah Adonai, ha-mavdil bein kodesh l’hol. Praised are You, Adonai, our God, Ruler of the Cosmos . Who divides between holy and ordinary . betweeen light and darkenss, between Israel and other nations, . between the seventh day and the six days of work . Praised are You, Adonai, Who divides between holy and ordinary. 8. Read an Elijah story. (We’ll talk about Elijah again during the Passover unit.) Elijah is a prophet of peace. Ask: Why do you think we sing about Elijah when we say goodbye to Shabbat? 9. Making distinctions. What makes your birthday different from every other day? What are some special things you get to do/wear on your birthday? What does your family do to help make it special? What if every day was your birthday? Would that be a good thing? Would it be as special? Develop this same line of questioning contrasting the first day of school with the rest of the school year. 10. Make a special class collaborative book — one that has a cover on the front and a cover on the back so the book can be flipped and read both ways. In other words, the front cover and the first half of the book read in one direction. Then you flip it over so the back cover becomes the front cover. Each student is given two pieces of paper: One thing I do during the week is _______________. The second paper will say: One thing I can do on Shabbat is _______________. One cover will read: “Things we do during the week.” The second cover will read:, “Things we do on Shabbat”. 43
11. Shavua tov is the greeting we use to end Shabbat. When we say Shavua tov we wish each other a good week. To talk about: What makes a week good? What makes a week good for you? What are some ways we can you help make a week good for someone else? 12. Make individual Havdalah books. Use the accordion book format. The “books” will need eight sections: a title page; four pages for drawings of twisted candle, spice box, kiddush cup, things that God has divided; an Elijah drawing; and a Shavua tov drawing. The last section is for the student’s name.
Projects and Activities Deepen the understanding of Shabbat by doing some of the following. 1. Make, braid, bake a hallah. This is a scrapbook moment. Take photos of the process.
Hallah Ingredients ¼ cup oil 1 tsp. salt 1 Tb. sugar ¾ cup hot water 1 pkg. dry yeast ¼ cup lukewarm water 2 eggs 3½–4 cups flour ¼ cup sesame seeds or poppy seeds Directions 1. Pour the oil, salt, and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add the hot water. Mix until the sugar and salt dissolve. 2. Mix the yeast and the lukewarm water in a small bowl and set it aside until the yeast dissolves and foams. 3. In another small bowl, beat the eggs with a fork. Put aside two tablespoons of egg to brush on the hallah before baking. Pour the rest of the eggs into the bowl of oil, water, salt, and sugar. Add the yeast and mix. 4. Add the flour to the bowl, one cup at a time. Continue mixing until the ingredients hold together in a ball. 5. Spread a little flour on a board, your hands, and the ball of dough. Place the dough on the board and knead for about five minutes. Roll the dough into a ball again. 6. Put a few drops of oil on your hand and rub the ball of dough all over with the oil. Place the dough back in the bowl. Cover it with a towel and put it in a warm place to rise. Do not choose a spot that is too hot! 7. Let the dough rise for one hour or until it has doubled in bulk. Place it on a floured board again and knead it for one more minute. Cut the dough into six equal pieces. 8. Roll each piece of dough between your hands until it is about nine inches long. Braid three pieces of dough together for each loaf of hallah. Brush each loaf with the reserved egg and sprinkle with seeds. 9. Bake at 350° for 50–60 minutes. The loaves are finished when you tap on the bottom and hear a hollow sound.
2. Write a class story about hallah. Choose one of two ideas: a. A story about the steps in making the bread. b. A story about the ingredients, making, baking, and tasting. Post or keep the two stories about bread. Save this story for a lesson on matzah. 3. Make up a batch of play dough so students can practice braiding hallah. You can find one at playdoughrecipe.com. 4. Make a hallah cover (see page 61, 100+ Jewish Art Projects for Children) to take home and use at the family Shabbat table. You can buy presized fabric hallah covers at Mahir Judaica, or you can use white cloth napkins or white construction paper. Decorate them with fabric markers, glitter, puff paint. If your students do not know the Hebrew letters, use or create stencils to add the word Shabbat, the phrase Shabbat Shalom or the brakhah over bread. 5. Papier-mâché tzedakah box. Ask students to bring in a few family photos. Cover a small milk or cream container or a small can with colorful papier-mâché. Use an X-act-o knife to create a slit in the top of each box (never leave the knife in a place where students have access it). Using white glue, attach the family photos to the sides of the box. An easy to use papier-mâché product called Modge Podge is available at craft stores or through school catalogues. 6. Tie-dye napkins and napkin rings. You can use real napkins or make them out of scrap material by cutting up a white sheet. Tie-dying kits or Rit dye can be purchased for this project. You may want to do this outdoors. Procure additional adult help and have students dress in old T-shirts or smocks for this project! You’ll also need to find a place to let the napkins dry before they can be sent home. To make the rings, cut a toilet paper roll in half (or a paper towel roll in fourths). Use paint or markers to decorate the rings. Slip a dry napkin into the decorated roll. You’ll need to have children make one for each member of their immediate families (those who might be seated around the Shabbat table). These special napkins and rings will help enhance the beauty of the table on Erev Shabbat. 7. Erev Shabbat centerpieces. Every Shabbat table can use a centerpiece. Paint an orange juice or lemonade can (do not peel off the paper; paint will adhere to it easily) or cover one in papier-mâché. Use pipe cleaners or straws as flower stems. Bend the pipe cleaners in the middle into the shape of a leaf. Use tissue paper to make flowers and attach them to the stems with ribbon. Fill each can with lots of flowers. Alternative bases include terra cotta planters (inexpensive at hardware stores) or pretty bottles (some bottled water bottles work nicely). 8. Candlesticks and centerpieces (made of recycled two-liter plastic bottles). You’ll need two bottles per child (and you’ll end up with extra bases for centerpieces). Discard the bottle cap or put it into your crafts recycling box (caps can be used to make the cups for a hanukkiyah). Cut each bottle about a quarter of the way down. When you stand this part up, you’ll see it can become a candlestick (you need two bottles per child because you’ll need two candlesticks). Decorate with papier-mâché and tissue paper (the decorations should be on the inside of the candlesticks). Place aluminum foil in each candlestick holder (where the cap would have been). Decorate the bottom part as a vase and place tissue-paper flowers (see above) inside your vase. If the edge of a vase is sharp from having been cut, simply drape tissue paper over it and fasten the paper with glue.
9. Make a mini-book or an accordion book about the creation of the world. Pages are labeled “On the first day, God created _______________” and accompanied by a drawing. Students can be divided into seven groups, each illustrating one day. Pages are photocopied and made into a book for each child to take home. 10. Teach some Shabbat songs. a. Shalom Aleikhem b. Bim Bam c. Debbie Friedman’s “Shabbat Shalom Blessings” (Shirim Al Galgalim, page 9) 11. Make a Shabbat tablecloth to use in class. Give each student a piece of white construction paper that is 12” x 18.” Talk about ideas for decorating the paper with Shabbat and other Jewish symbols. You might want to give them the motzi blessing to cut out and paste on to their papers. Depending upon the size of the tablecloth you want to make, tape three to six of the student drawings end to end and laminate into one piece. Make several of these laminated strips. Then tape the strips together with colored tape. Use the class tablecloth in the Shabbat corner or whenever the class talks about Shabbat and practices the Shabbat rituals. 12. Make a Shabbat kit to take home (this may take up to three weeks). Students will make a kiddush cup, candlesticks, and hallah cover to take home. (If students are in first grade, check to find out what Shabbat objects they made last year and fill in with the others this year.) Deepen the understanding of Havdalah by doing some of the following: 13. Make a Havdalah candle. Make beautiful braided Havdalah candles out of beeswax, which can be purchased at most craft or hobby stores. The wax comes in sheets of 7½” x 16”. Cut the sheets in halves or thirds diagonally. Place a wick on the long, straight edge of each piece and secure it in place. Roll the wax snugly over the wick and continue to roll evenly. Braid three pieces of equal length to create a Havdalah candle. These candles look great made with three different colors. 14. Havdalah house. Draw a simple house shape on colored paper and cut it out. Draw a large door, two square windows, and a round attic window (trace around a juice can or cup to get a round window). Carefully cut the door and windows on three sides. Fold back (but do not cut) along the fourth side. Glue the house to a piece of white paper, being careful not to glue the windows or doors shut. Draw a tall, twisted Havdalah candle behind the door. Draw a cup of wine behind one small window. Draw a small bowl behind the other square window, and glue some spices (such as cloves or a cinnamon stick) on the bowl. Color the attic window opening black, and place three stars there — you can use stickers or draw the stars with chalk. 15. Havdalah spice boxes: Four ways to make spice boxes.Wash a large apple or orange. Stick cloves all over it, covering the whole surface. Wrap the fruit with lace, muslin, or other fabric and tie the fabric at the top with ribbon, yarn, or string. Carefully wash and dry a small milk or cream carton. Using a plastic fork, poke holes around the carton. Fill the carton with spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice all work well). Cover the carton with tissue paper using glue and paint brushes.
Cut small squares of nylon net of a pretty color. Fill the nets with spices and tie them at the top with a contrasting-color ribbon. Use recycled spice containers (the really small ones work well). Decorate them and fill them with spices. 16. Havdalah sequencing cards. Punch a hole in the left corners of seven pieces of tag board of approximately five by seven inches. Secure the boards together by placing a metal ring or yarn in the holes. Using colored markers or crayons, write the word “Havdalah” in large letters on the cover and draw a picture of anything that reminds the children of Havdalah. • On page one draw a picture of someone seeing three stars in the sky. • On page two draw a picture of a family saying the brakhah over the wine. • On page three draw a picture of a family saying the brakhah over the candles. • On page four draw a picture of a family saying the brakhah over the spices. • On page five draw a picture of the end of Havdalah — a family singing together and dipping the candle in the wine. The pictures can either be drawn or cut from magazines and glued onto the cards. Do not number the pages. Detach the cards from the ring and use them for games. You may want to mix up the cards and let children place them in the correct order or use two sets of cards to play Match-it. Another idea is to tell a story to go along with the cards.
Endings 1. Invite parents for the last fifteen minutes of class for Kabbalat Shabbat. Set up a Shabbat table, sing the blessings, taste the freshly baked hallah, and sing a few Shabbat songs. As a class, read the collaborative book or tell the creation story. 2. Invite parents to bring in their family Shabbat candlesticks and tell a story about them. 3. Practice the Shabbat blessings. Record them to take home for parents. 4. The Reluctant Artist (pages 37 and 38) has a wonderful idea that works for any holiday or area of study that has three parts. Review the three Havdalah ritual items, their names, and how they are used. Then, using the pattern, invite students to draw one item in each of the three triangles. Label each triangle or have a sentence to complete. Example: The twisted candle tells the story______________. Cut, glue, and fold the pyramid as suggested. The pyramids can be a fourth item in the Havdalah take-home set or can become table decorations in school or at home. 5. Practice Jewish greetings. Shavua tov is the way we end Shabbat — have a good week. Create some scenarios in which students can practice other Jewish greetings they’ve learned: Shabbat shalom, hag sameah, shanah tovah, shalom aleikhem. 6. Review the three things that begin Shabbat and the three things that end Shabbat. Each thing tells a story. What are the stories they tell?
Family Education How to make Shabbat. There are many formats for workshops on creating Shabbat at home. Here is one way to empower families with the knowledge and materials they will need to celebrate Shabbat. This activity may be done at any time in your year — perhaps you will want to use this Erev Shabbat lesson and family activity as the beginning of your family program. If your students are excited about this lesson, their parents may be motivated to try to bring Shabbat into their homes. The goal of this activity is to encourage parents to take small steps; one can’t go straight from non-observance to multi-course meals (complete with soup and fluffy matzah balls) and . birkat ha-mazon (the grace after meals). Try to get families to consider one element of Shabbat that they would be willing to try, such as eating a family meal around the dining room table, perhaps with an elegant touch such as a white tablecloth. Later they may want to add candle lighting; further down the road they may incorporate hallah and ha-motzi, and so on. 1. Invite parents to join you on a Sunday morning for “Shabbat.” 2. On the day of the program, prepare your room by placing white tablecloths on the tables and presetting them. If there are no tablecloths available, have students make table coverings out of butcher paper that they have decorated for Shabbat or placemats that may be set for each family. Play Shabbat music as the families arrive and greet them with “Shabbat shalom.” 3. Walk the families through the “Shabbat seder” (the Erev Shabbat home ritual). Encourage them to ask questions and to keep their own observance simple at first. Dr. Ron Wolfson’s “The Shabbat Seder” is a wonderful resource for you as you plan this activity. 4. Share a special snack in lieu of an elaborate meal. 5. Plan a craft activity so that parents and children can make items for use in their own Shabbat celebrations. You may want to set up a series of craft-making stations so that families can choose what they wish to make from several options. 6. To wrap up the morning, sing a few Shabbat songs together. Ask parents to share one idea or practice they might consider trying to incorporate into their Shabbat home celebration. Send parents home with a bag of goodies such as handouts on how to make Shabbat at home, Erev Shabbat blessings and melodies printed on laminated cards and recorded, and perhaps a story they can share with their children at home. A nice idea is to have the students decorate white paper gift bags for their families in advance. If the students have made other Shabbat-related objects prior to this week, this would be a good time to send them home. 7. A month or so later you may want to follow up with families to see if they have used any part of their Shabbat kits or begun any new Shabbat rituals at home. Plan a family Havdalah program. Invite families to come an hour or two before Shabbat ends. Plan Shabbat-appropriate activities — songs, games, stories, Israeli dance. Prior to the family activities you may want to have the students do something while the parents meet with the rabbi, cantor or educator to learn about the big ideas and the rituals of Havdalah. Following the family activities, have seudah shlishit (the third Shabbat meal). If it’s a clear evening, invite families to go outside to see if they can find three stars, then gather in a big circle to for the Havdalah rituals. A good time of year to do this is in the winter, when Shabbat ends early.
At Home (Family Opportunities) 1. Send home suggestions for beginning or adding a tradition to the Friday night celebration. • Collecting tzedakah before lighting the candles. • The three table blessings. • Blessing the children. • Blessings for the husband and wife. • Ideas for Shabbat table talk discussions. 2. Encourage families to study together. Every week send home a parashat ha-shavua discussion. Three good resources: • www.URJ.org Click on “Shabbat table talk.” • Four Questions on the Weekly Sidrah by Dov Peretz Elkins. Torah Aura Productions. • When You Sit in Your House: A Copy Pack of Family Materials On the Weekly Torah Portion by Sharon Helper. Torah Aura Productions. 3. Record the Shabbat table blessings to send home for each family. 4. Send home the Havdalah kit. Include the brakhot with the melodies used in your congregation.
Resources Cohen, Deborah Bodin. The Seventh Day. Kar-Ben Publishing. Fishman, Cathy Goldberg. On Shabbat. Athenum Books for Young Readers. Greengard, Alison. In The Beginning. EKS Publishing Co.. Grishaver, Joel. BJL Red Label Shabbat. Torah Aura Productions. Groner, Judyth, and Madeline Wikler. Thank You, God: A Jewish Child’s Book of Prayers. Kar-Ben Publishing. Handelman, Maxine Segal. Shabbat Angels. URJ Press. Hest, Amy. The Friday Night of Nana. Candlewick Press. Jules, Jacqueline. Once Upon a Shabbos. Kar-Ben Publishing. Lamstein, Sarah. Annie’s Shabbat. Albert Whitman & Co. Musleah, Rahel, and Rabbi Michael Klayman. Sharing Blessings: Children’s Stories for Exploring the Spirit of the Jewish Holidays. Jewish Lights Publishing. Nerlove, Miriam. Shabbat. Albert Whitman & Company. Wasserman, Mira. Too Much of a Good Thing. Kar-Ben Publishing. Wolfson, Ron. The Art of Jewish Living: The Shabbat Seder. Jewish Lights Publishing.
Hanukkah Focus Hanukkah is easy. It has a good story. It has theme-appropriate food. It comes with its own game. And it has a clear, simple, short ritual. Concrete; easy to teach.
• The story: Antiochus took away our freedom, and we fought and got it back. Miracle! The rest of the story: The oil burned for eight nights. Miracle, too! • The foods: Latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiot (jelly donuts). Both are cooked in oil, which reminds us that the oil burned for eight nights. • The game: Dreidle. It, too, tells the story: “A great miracle happened there.” • The ritual: Adding and lighting candles for eight nights — reenacting the miracle. The really nice thing about Hanukkah is that it works two ways. It is engineered to be a “God rescued us” story. But it has also been engineered to be a “We found the strength to fight for our own freedom” story. Either way, it is a “finding light in the darkness” story.
Central Idea Hanukkah relives the story of the Maccabees, who serve as courageous examples of the people we need to become.
Enabling Ideas • The miracle story of Hanukkah opens us to the possibility of miracles in our own lives. • The original Hanukkah celebrated the rededication of the Temple and shows us how to make acts of dedication in our own lives. • Our own stories are like the Hanukkah story in many ways. Starters 1. Begin with a question. What is a miracle? List some things you think are miracles (babies being born, seeds germinating). Why are these miracles? How do these miracles make you feel? We remember a miracle when we tell the story of Hanukkah and when we light the hanukkiyah. 2. Display a hanukkiyah. Ask students to describe it. Ask: Why does it have places for nine candles? 3. Define the following key Hanukkah language elements. • Antiochus — the King of the Syrian-Greeks. He decided that he was god. He makes everyone in his kingdom bow down and worship his idol. 50
• Mattathias — a Jewish man who lived in the town of Modi’in. He refused to bow down to the idol of Antiochus. • Maccabee — the name of the army that Mattathias started. “Maccabee” is the Hebrew word for “hammer.” • Judah — Mattathias’s son. He took over the Maccabean army when Mattathias got to be a very old man. • Hanukkah — the Hebrew word for “dedication.” The holiday of Hanukkah celebrates the Temple being rededicated after it was cleansed. • Hanukkiyah — a special candle holder used during Hanukkah. A hanukkiyah has nine stems. 4. Read Like A Maccabee by Raymond A. Zwerin and Audrey Friedman Marcus. URJ Press. After reading the book, invite students to help you remember all the things that happened in the story. Then focus on the order of the events in the story. What happened first? Next? Then ask: What did the Maccabees do? What does it mean to be like a Maccabee? 5. Bring to class a menorah (a candleholder with seven branches) and a hanukkiyah (a candle holder with nine places). Discuss the difference between the two candleholders. An actual menorah may be hard to find, so a picture or photograph may have to be substituted. Compare the two objects by counting the spaces they each have for candles. 6. Create a display of hanukkiyot (plural of hanukkiyah). Ask students to share hanukkiyot from home. Bring in pictures of hanukkiyot. Notice that although they may be different in design and color, they all have something in common. Every hanukkiyah has eight branches and an extra branch for the shamash — the leader of the candles. Do a counting comparison again. 7. Play an imaginative game of “Construct a Hanukkiyah.” Sit in a circle with one person in the middle of the circle. He or she is “it” — the maker of the hanukkiyah. Everyone goes around the circle and names an object. As each person calls out a word, the person who is “it” must describe how a hanukkiyah would be made out of the object. For example, someone says “Shell.” The person in the middle might say, “Glue eight shells to a piece of wood. Glue a large shell in the middle for the shamash.”
Developing the Ideas 1. Talk about courage. What is courage? What does it mean to stand up for something that is right? When have you or somebody you know done something brave or courageous? 2. Discuss how each Hanukkah object relates to the story. • Lighting the hanukkiyah reminds us that the oil in the Temple burned for eight days. • Latkes and sufganiot are foods made with oil, so they also remind us of the miracle of the oil. • Playing with a sevivon reminds us of the miracle that happened. Show students a sevivon and explain how each Hebrew letter stands for the words that means “a great miracle happened there”.
3. The Hanukkah blessings a. Invite the cantor or music teacher to your class to teach the Sheheheyanu and the blessing over the Hanukkah lights. .
Barukh Attah Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah. Blessed are You, The Eternal, our God, Ruler of the universe, Who makes us holy with mitzvot, commanding us to light the candles of Hanukkah. .
Barukh Attah Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam, she-asah nissim la’avoteynu, ba-yamim hahem, ba-z’man ha-zeh. Blessed are You, The Eternal, our God, Ruler of the universe, Who made miracles for our fathers, in those days at this time. This is the third blessing, which is sung on the first night only:
Barukh Attah Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam, she-heheyanu, v’kiy’manu, v’higiyanu lazman ha-zeh. Blessed are You, The Eternal Our God, Ruler of the Cosmos, Who has kept us in life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season. b. Explain why we say Sheheheyanu on the first night of Hanukkah: Sheheheyanu is the blessing we say to thank God for helping us to reach a special time. c. After learning the blessings, spend some time learning and singing Hanukkah songs. 4. Ask the following questions: • When do we light the candles on the hanukkiyah, during the day or at night? (night) • How many candles do we light on the first night of Hanukkah? (two) • How many candles do we light on the second night of Hanukkah? (three) • How many candles do we light on the eighth night of Hanukkah? (nine) • Does anyone know what we call the candle that lights all the other candles? (The shamash — the “helper” candle) 5. Read Judah Who Always Said No by Harriet Feder. Discuss what lessons we learn from the Maccabees: bravery, determination, working together, fixing what is broken, blessings. 6. Read Potato Pancakes All Around by Marilyn Hirsch lends itself to acting out the Hanukkah story using props, costumes, and simple sets. 7. Class collaborative book. Make the cover and pages in the shape of a hammer (The Hebrew word Maccabee translates as “hammer”). Complete the sentence: I am like Judah Maccabee when I ___________. 8. Read “How They Play Dreidle in Chelm” from Eric Kimmel’s The Jar of Fools: Eight Hanukkah Stories from Chelm. Holiday House. In this funny story children will learn the meaning of each letter on the dreidle as well as why there are no letters on the dreidels in Chelm.
Projects and Activities Deepen the understanding of Hanukkah by doing some of the following. 1. Send Hanukkah cards to family and friends. The cards should remind us of the story of Hanukkah and how happy we are to be Jewish. Using the themes of lighting the hanukkiyah, playing a game of sevivon, and eating latkes and sufganiot, choose one or more of the following ways to make Hanukkah cards. • Sponge Print: Using bright colors, dip sponges in paint and decorate white paper folded in half. Cut or buy sponges in the shape of a sevivon or hanukkiyah. • Construction Paper Collage. Tear (no scissors) scraps of blue and white construction paper. Fold a piece of yellow construction paper in half for the card. Draw the shape of a sevivon on the card. Fill in the shape or line the outside of the shape by gluing the colored construction paper on the card. • Funny Foam™ cards. Cut Funny Foam™ in the shape of a latke or sufganiah and glue onto a folded piece of white paper. Buy beige, purple, and white foam. Cut these colors into circles and glue over latke shapes for applesauce, jelly, and sour cream. 2. Make a class comic strip that tells the story of Hanukkah. Provide each student with a strip of paper that is 18” x 4” and folded into eight sections. Review the story together. Assign each section — a part of the story — to one or two students. Ask them to draw their part of the story in their assigned section. When the comic strip is finished, ask students to tell their part of the story. 3. Hanukkah cinquain. Use a piece of chart paper that has been cut into the shape of a dreidle. A cinquain is a form of poetry that uses a recipe. It’s easy and easily adapted to any topic. The cinquain has five lines. The first line is one word and names the subject. The second line is two words that describe the subject. The third line is three action words about the subject. The fourth line is a four- or five-word phrase that describes the subject (a thought, not a complete sentence). The fifth line is one word that means the same thing as the first word and sums up the poem. Example: Hanukkiyah Candles, lights . Glowing, shining, burning . Courage to take a stand . Rededication
3. Make individual hanukkiyot to take home and light during Hanukkah.
Hanukkah Menorah for Younger Students What You’ll Need Wooden spools (available at craft stores) Number stickers Acrylic paints in different shades of blue Sponge brushes Pencil Rubber band Colored pencils Yellow eraser pencil toppers 1. Gather eight spools of the same size and one that’s slightly taller. Label the sides of the shorter spools from 1 to 8 with number stickers. Be sure to press the sticker firmly onto the spool. 2. To make it easier to paint a spool, wrap a rubber band around a pencil a third of the way down and insert it into the spool. Use a sponge brush to dab paint on the spool. Let dry completely and remove sticker. 3. Line spools up in numerical order from right to left, with the taller spool in the middle or on the left. Insert a colored pencil into a spool each night and “light” by capping with an eraser.
Tree Branch Hanukkiyah Materials Needed: Tree Branch Silver Spray Paint Candles Drill (should only be used by an adult or with close adult supervision) Instructions: 1. Find a tree branch. Drill nine holes in it, or attach nine bottle caps to the branch. 2. Paint the branch (and bottle caps) with silver spray paint. Let the paint dry. 3. Put the candles in the hanukkiyah.
Baby Food Jar Hanukkiyah Materials & Tools nine small baby food jars, washed thoroughly with the labels fully removed jewel stickers, sequins, glitter glue, or flat sided plastic jewels thick craft glue Q-tips tea lights Directions 1.Use the craft glue and glitter glue, plastic jewels and sequins to decorate the baby food jars. Use the Q-tips to spread the glue. 2. Line up the jars horizontally and fill them with a tea light for each night of Hanukkah.
Clay Hanukkiyah You will need Self-hardening clay, about 1½ lbs. Ruler Butter knife Hanukkah candles Sheet of sturdy cardboard Paintbrushes Acrylic paint in assorted colors Directions 1. On a clean work surface, roll the clay into a long cylinder with an even diameter of a little over an inch. Then, measure the cylinder and mark off 10 even lengths (about 1½ inches each). Cut eight of these lengths, and leave the last two uncut (these will be the taller shammash). Cylinders may flatten when cut; gently reshape them if necessary. Using a Hanukkah candle, make a hole in one end of each cylinder, deep enough to hold a lighted candle. Again, reshape gently. 2. On the cardboard base, line up the cylinders side by side, with the one for the shammash in the center. Gently press the sides of the cylinders together, using water to make them stick (some separation may occur when the menorah dries). To decorate your menorah, roll out a thin coil of clay to twine around the bottom or sides. Alternatively, you can try adding stars or other clay shapes. To help clay decorations adhere to the menorah, brush both surfaces with water before attaching. Let the finished menorah dry for two or three days, then paint it in bright colors.
8. Make Hanukkah Candles Give your celebration a special glow with these hand-rolled candles, made from sheets of beeswax in the subtlest shades of ivory, butter yellow, and deep olive. Make a set for yourself, and make more to give as holiday gifts that are both pretty and useful; during the eight days of Hanukkah, a total of forty-four candles are lit. Directions 1. Using a utility knife and ruler, slice wax sheets into 2-by-4 ½-inch rectangles. 2. Cut wicking into 5 ½-inch lengths; make a knot close to one end. 3. Warm wax with a blow dryer until just pliable, 10 to 15 seconds. 4. Lay wicking along edge of wax with 3/4 inch of wick hanging beyond wax. 5. Roll wax around wicking; press seam with your finger to smooth and seal.
9. Decorative hanukkiyah. Make hanukkiyah decorations. Collect toilet paper and towel rolls. Cover eight toilet paper rolls by wrapping tissue paper around each roll and stuffing it into the ends. Do the same with one paper towel roll. Cut red, yellow, or orange cellophane and stuff into one end of each roll as the flame of a candle. Cover a long, narrow box or board with Hanukkah wrapping paper or plain blue wrapping paper. Glue the rolls onto the box or board as the candle branches. Hang the hanukkiyah by attaching yarn at its top. 10. Dreidel cookies. Using a traditional butter- or sugar-cookie dough (or any of your favorite cookie dough recipes), cut out the shapes of dreidels. Use frosting to write nun, gimmel, shin, or hey on the cookies. 11. Hanukkah mobile. Cut thick board into the shapes of hanukkiyot, dreidels, latkes, sufganiot or Stars of David. Decorate the shapes (glue on sequins, color with markers, paint,
cover with tissue paper). Punch a hole at the top of each shape and, using ribbon or yarn, attach each piece to a blue plastic hanger. 12. Half-homemade sufganiot. Buy plain glazed doughnuts or doughnut holes and jelly. Using a pastry syringe, squirt jelly into the middle of the doughnut. This is great fun, and you avoid the danger of cooking with hot oil. 13. Create eight Hanukkah stations. Give each student an outline of a hanukkiyah filled with candles. Label each candle with the name of (or an icon for) each station. As students complete the work at each station, they color in the corresponding candle. Ideas for stations (you will need a parent or madrikh/madrikhah at each station): a. Tape recording of the blessing for lighting the candles. b. Cook a food in oil — sufganiyot or latkes.
Sufganiyot (Makes 20 doughnuts) Ingredients 1½ cups flour 1 package dry yeast ½ cup warm water 1 egg ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ cup sugar ½ teaspoon oil oil for frying, enough to be about 3 inches deep in your pot jam or jelly Directions 1. Measure the flour into a larger bowl. Set it aside. 2. Put half the warm water in the small bowl. Add the yeast and mix until it melts. Add the egg, salt, sugar, and oil. Mix well. 3. Pour the yeast mixture into the flour and mix. Ad the rest of the warm water and mix well. The dough will be sticky. 4. Cover the bowl with a dish towel. Let it rise in a warm place for one hour. 5. Heat the oil in the pot to 375 degrees, or until little bubbles rise to the surface. Dip the tablespoon in oil first, then carefully put a tablespoon of dough into the pot. Don't drop it in—the hot oil may splash. 6. The sufganiyot will puff and float in the oil. Cook a few at a time. Turn them with the slotted spoon until they are golden all over. 7. Make a slit in each sufganiyah and add 1 tablespoon of your favorite jam or jelly or use a pastry syringe.
Potato Latke 1 (Makes 10–12 large latkes) Ingredients 2 cups peeled and shredded potatoes 1 tablespoon grated onion 3 eggs, beaten 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1½ teaspoons salt
½ cup peanut oil for frying Directions 1. Place the potatoes in a cheesecloth and wring, extracting as much moisture as possible. 2. In a medium bowl stir the potatoes, onion, eggs, flour and salt together. 3. In a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until hot. Place large spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the hot oil, pressing down on them to form ¼- to ½-inch thick patties. Brown on one side, turn and brown on the other. Let drain on paper towels. Serve hot!
Potato Latke 2 (Makes 6 large latkes) Ingredients 2 cups potato, cubed 3 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and shredded 1 onion, shredded 2 eggs 3 tablespoons matzo meal 1 teaspoon kosher salt 6 tablespoons vegetable oil Directions 1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool and mash. 2. In a medium bowl, mix shredded Yukon Gold potatoes, mashed potatoes and onion. Add in eggs, matzo meal and salt; mix well. 3. Feel consistency of the dough; mixture should hold together without being sticky. If it sticks to your hands, add more matzo meal until dough is no longer sticky. 4. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm enough oil or butter or margarine to cover ¼-inch of the skillet. 5. When hot, drop mixture by heaping tablespoon to oil; flatten with a spatula and cook on both sides until golden brown. Serve.
c. Make a hanukkiyah (see above). d. Use real candles to practice the correct directions for setting up and lighting the candles (but don’t really light them). e. Make Hanukkah gift wrap. Use sponge bits cut into Hanukkah shapes (or use Hanukkah cookie cutters to trace shapes onto the sponges) to decorate the paper. f. Make a coupon book as a gift for parents. With your class, brainstorm a list of things students can do to help at home. Make a coupon for each of their promises. Create books that are 8½” x 3½” and staple together. Ideas can include helping with siblings, room cleanup, table setting, walking the dog, writing a letter to Grandma, taking out the garbage, cleaning out the closet, etc. g. Make Hanukkah decorations to take home — a mobile or paper chain. h. Make two Hanukkah cards — one to take home and one to send to a grandparent or to a local senior center. 14. Hanukkah songs.
“Light a Candle for Hanukkah” from Debbie Friedman’s Shir ha-Galgalim. Make up a Hanukkah verse for the Sing Along Song. Sing and act out “I Have A Little Dreidel.” Students become dreidels. Teach “Light One Candle” by Peter Yarrow. 15. Play a selection of Hanukkah songs while students are doing their center projects. 16. Divide the class in groups of five or six to play the dreidle game. Use M&M’s, chocolate gelt, or game tokens. The rules of the dreidel game are as follows: Each player puts one game piece into the pot. Everyone takes turns spinning the dreidel. If the dreidel falls on nun, don’t take anything; gimmel — take everything in the pot; hey — take half the pot; shin — put one into the pot. Whoever has the most chocolate or tokens at the end wins. If using candies, students can eat them at the end of the game. If using pennies, add them to your tzedakah box at the end of the game. 17. Hanukkah masks. Using tag board and acrylic paint, make masks for the Syrian-Greek soldiers, Antiochus, Mattathias, other Maccabean soldiers, and Judah. Cut large shapes for the faces and use paint to decorate them. Use yarn and miscellaneous art materials to enhance the masks. Punch each side of the mask and string yarn through the holes to secure the masks on students’ heads. 18. Role playing. Have the students act out the characters of the Hanukkah story. While they are wearing their masks, ask them questions. For example, these are some questions for Judah. Q: What was it like fighting the Syrian-Greeks? Q: How did it feel to be a Maccabee? Q: What was your father like? Q: What did the Temple look like after the Syrian-Greeks destroyed it? 19. Make Hanukkah plates or place mats for the hanukkiyot. Use ceramic plates and have students decorate them using permanent markers. For placemats, students can decorate blank placemats or construction paper. Paper placemats can be laminated.
Endings 1. As a class, make up a story about the land of Gadol (big). Write the story down as the students create it. Draw a class mural of the land of Gadol celebrating Hanukkah. 2. Make a large classroom hanukkiyah. You can do this using paper towel tubes and papermâché. If you like, divide your class in two and have one group make a large dreidel. 3. Play dreidel. Use M&M’s, chocolate gelt, or game tokens. The rules of the dreidel game are as follows: Each player puts one game piece into the pot. Everyone takes turns spinning the dreidel. If the dreidel falls on nun, don’t take anything; gimmel — take everything in the pot; hey — take half the pot; shin — put one into the pot. Whoever has the most chocolate or tokens at the end wins. 4. Do you remember what we spin, light, eat on Hanukkah? 5. Read What Can It Be: Riddles about Hanukkah by Susan Poskanzer. Then, with the class, create a class riddle book. Students will draw the answers.
At Home • A list of ideas for families to do together on each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. 1. Game night — no TV, just family fun. Chutes and Ladders, Parcheesi. 2. Tzedakah night. Collect money from each family member; go to the grocery store and buy food for the food bank. 3. Call Jewish Family Service and find out how to participate in their Hanukkah gift drive. 4. Come to dinner dressed as your favorite Hanukkah character. 5. Decide that on one particular night all the family gifts will be handmade. 6. Clean-out-your-closet night. Each person goes into his/her closet and picks out something that hasn’t been worn in a year. Take the clothes to a mission or shelter. 7. Have a latke buffet. Try out new recipes — latkes with leeks, latkes made from sweet potatoes. 8. Play family dreidel. Winner gets to choose a movie to watch together. • A list of ideas for eight mitzvah projects. Together, families can do a project each day of Hanukkah. 1. Invite people into your home for dinner and a Hanukkah celebration. 2. Donate clothes to the needy. 3. Visit a nursing home or hospital. 4. Donate to a local food bank. 5. Donate toys to Toys for Tots. 6. Donate oil and potatoes for latke kits for Jewish Family Service. 7. Donate old computers to www.teacherswithoutborders.org. 8. Work at a soup kitchen. • A bookmark listing eight wonderful Hanukkah stories to read at home. On Hanukkah by Cathy Goldberg Fishman. Aladdin Paperbacks. Hanukkah Fun: Crafts and Games by Andrea R. Weiss. Boyds Mills Press. Eight Nights, Eight Lights by Kerry Olitsky. Torah Aura Productions. Chanukah: A Joyous Celebration by Rabbi Daniel S. Wolk. Peter Pauper Press, Inc. Includes a CD of Hanukkah songs, recipes, and games.
Family Education Invite parents to come to class for the last thirty minutes. Invite each family to create a family “shield” on cardboard that has been cut into a shield (magen) shape. Invite families to write or draw a description of themselves celebrating a special time together. Include the family name/ names in large letters.
Resources Adler, David A. One Yellow Daffodil. Sandpiper.
Cleary, Brian P. Eight Wild Nights: A Family Hanukkah Tale. Kar-Ben Publishing. Cohn, Janice. The Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate. Albert Whitman & Co. Da Costa, Deborah. Hanukkah Moon. Kar-Ben Publishing. Glaser, Linda. The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes. Albert Whitman & Co. Glaser, Linda. Mrs. Greenberg’s Messy Hanukkah. Albert Whitman & Co. Goldin, Barbara Diamond. The Best Hanukkah Ever. Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books. Heller, Esther Susan. Menorah Under the Sea. Kar-Ben Publishing. Jules, Jacqueline. The Ziz and the Hanukkah Miracle. Kar-Ben Publishing. Kimmel, Eric A. Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins. Holiday House. Kimmel, Eric A. The Magic Dreidels: A Hanukkah Story. Holiday House. Koons, Jon. A Confused Hanukkah. Dutton Juvenile. Krensky, Stephen. Hanukkah at Valley Forge. Dutton Juvenile. Lehman-Wilzig, Tami. Hanukkah Around the World. Kar-Ben Publishing. Levine, Anna. Jodie���s Hanukkah Dig. Kar-Ben Publishing. Melamed, Linda Krauss. Moishe’s Miracle: A Hanukkah Story. Chronicle Press. Oberman, Sheldon. By the Hanukkah Light. Boyds Mills Press. Ofanasky, Allison. Harvest of Lights. Kar-Ben Publishing. Olitsky, Kerry, and Ronald Isaacs. The How To Handbook for Jewish Living. Silverman, Maida. Festival of Lights: The Story of Hanukkah. Ewing, Aladdin Paperbacks, Simon and Schuster. Spinner, Stephanie. It’s a Miracle! A Hanukkah Storybook. Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. Weiss, Andrea R. Hanukkah Fun, Crafts and Games. Bell Books, Boyds Mills Press.
" Tu B’Shvat Focus " Tu B’Shvat is “the birthday of the trees.” That is a great, simple explanation. The more complex explanation — that Jews needed to have a starting point from which to count the age of fruit in order to determine the tree’s eligibility for tithing — is much more complex. What students need to know is that Judaism thinks trees are important. They are viewed as a gift from God, the key to human survival, and the model that describes people’s relationship to God.
On Tu B’Shavat we have an opportunity to teach a lot of things. There is a chance to talk about bikkurim, first fruits, and about the idea that everything we have is a gift from God. We get to look at trees and their role in the ecosystem. We can explore all the things that trees do for us. And we get to have a relationship with trees and their very nature. What becomes clear is that planting trees and caring for them is a Jewish obligation that is good for the world. And the exploration of trees connects us to Torah and God. The tree is a metaphor for the Torah. We call the wooden rollers on the Torah the aitzei hayyim, the Tree of Life. Likewise, in the Kabbalah the atzei hayyim serves as a chart that describes the connection between God and people. On Tu B’Shvat we celebrate trees and we celebrate our treeness.
Central Idea By celebrating trees we connect to nature and to its Creator.
Enabling Ideas • Jews have an obligation to care for trees, which reflects our larger commitment to care for the entire biosphere. • Our concern for trees directly connects us to the land of Israel. • Trees serve as a model for our relationship to the world and to its Creator. Starters 1. Show the students an orange, an apple, a grapefruit, and/or a lemon. Ask them to identify the fruits and to tell you where they come from. Ask students: Aside from giving us fruit, what else do trees do for us? What do trees give us? Brainstorm ideas.
2. Talk about the importance of trees for our world and tell the students that in Judaism we celebrate nature and trees on Tu B’Shvat. Some of us even call that day the birthday of the trees. 3. Discuss what the Hebrew words “Tu B’Shvat” stand for. " Tu stands for fifteen in Hebrew ( tet = nine, vav = six.) B’Shvat means of the Hebrew month of Shvat. 4. Talk about Tu B’Shvat in Israel. The holiday is in winter here, but the weather is like spring in Israel. Children in Israel plant trees on Tu B’Shvat. Children in America can also plant trees in Israel by donating money to plant a tree in honor or memory of someone. 5. Ask the children where they were born. Some will answer with the name of a hospital; others may name a city or state. Explain that everything has a beginning. “The day you were born is the beginning of your life. Trees have a beginning, too. During this lesson we will learn about the beginning of trees.” 6. Sing happy birthday in Hebrew: “ Yom Huledet Sameah.” Sing Happy Birthday to the trees! 7. Read Sammy Spider’s First Tu B’Shvat by Sylvia Rouss (Kar-Ben Publishing). Sammy spins a gift for his favorite tree. This book is a good introduction to this lesson. 8. Take the class on a tree walk. Talk about the trees you see, their trunks, branches, and leaves. Look for some trees whose roots are visible. Invite students to touch the trunks, branches, and roots and to collect leaves. Who do you think planted these trees? What is needed for these trees to grow? 9. Display pictures of a variety of trees. To talk about: What is the same about all the trees? What is different? Why are trees important? 10. Ask students to list all the words they can think of that describe a tree. Collect all the responses and make a class list. 11. For discussion: What do trees do for us? What does the Torah do for us? How is the Torah like a tree?
Developing the Ideas 1. Story of Honi: Tell or read the story.
HONI SLEEPS FOR SEVENTY YEARS The Land of Israel was filled with trees and bushes. Everywhere you looked it was green. Still Moses told the Families-of-Israel, “Everyone must take a shovel and plant a tree.” Moses said, “Just as you found it full of trees, so you must leave it full of trees.” (Leviticus Rabbah 25.5) Many years passed. The Land of Israel was still very green. It was still filled with trees and bushes. One day Honi the circle-maker was taking a walk. He saw a man planting a carob tree. Honi asked him, “Why are you planting a carob tree in a valley already filled with carob trees?” The man answered him, “Because I like carobs.” Honi did not like this answer. He then asked in a huff, “Don’t you know that it takes seventy years before a carob tree grows fruit? Do you expect to live that long?”
The man calmly said to Honi, “This valley was filled with carob trees when I was born. I want it filled with carob trees when my grandchildren are born. I am planting these trees for them and their friends.” Honi yawned. It was a bright, sunny day, but he felt very tired. He sat down to eat. Then he fell asleep. While he slept a cave formed around him. He slept for seventy years and then awoke. The cave disappeared. He yawned again and opened his eyes. The day was still sunny and bright. Everything looked the same except for one thing. Honi was now sitting in the shade of a beautiful carob tree. He stood up and picked a fruit off it and ate. Honi saw a man picking fruit off this same tree. He asked the man, “Do you know who planted this tree?” The man answered proudly. “Of course, my grandfather did. My father and mother planted trees after him. I planted my own trees, and now my children are beginning to plant their own.” Honi said to the man, “May I ask you one more thing?” The man answered, “Of course.” Honi asked, “May I borrow a shovel?” Honi, too, planted trees for the future. (Taanit 23a) 2. Bring a variety of special Tu B’Shvat fruits and nuts to class for students to smell, taste, and describe. Talk about what kind of tree or vine each fruit comes from. 3. Bring in examples of the seven types of fruits and grains that grow in Israel: wheat, barley, dates, figs, grapes, olives, pomegranates. Taste and describe each. 4. Ask students to describe a desert. Show photographs of Israel “then and now.” Talk about the role Jews the world over have played in making the desert green. 5. Divide a large piece of chart paper in two. Make two lists: Things Trees Do For Us and Things We Do For Trees. Invite each student to draw one thing people do for trees and one thing trees do for people. Label each. 6. Read The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. It is one of the finest books ever written about the importance of taking care of the earth and its resources. Action step: Decide one way your class will help take care of the environment (examples: recycle paper in class, use recyclable paper products, etc.).
Projects and Activities Deepen the understanding of Tu B’shvat by doing some of the following. 1. Talk about the importance of trees for our world and tell the students that in Judaism we celebrate nature and trees on Tu B’Shvat. Some of us even call that day the birthday of the trees. A tree in Hebrew is called etz. Have students repeat the word. Etzim is the plural. [Ask the children where they were born [this appears above in Starters as well]. Some will answer with the name of a hospital, while others may name a city or state. Explain that everything has a beginning. “The day you were born is the beginning of your life. Trees have a beginning, too. During this lesson we will learn about the beginning of trees.” Take a moment to begin celebrating beginnings by learning how to sing happy birthday in Hebrew, “Yom Huledet Sameah.” Sing Happy Birthday to the trees! 63
2. Introducing the Garden of Eden: Ask students to close their eyes and imagine the Garden of Eden. Quietly help them visualize the garden. Describe a beautiful place filled with etzim. There is an orchard with all kinds of fruit trees, and in the middle, two large trees. One was known as the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The other was known as the Tree of Life. They were the most famous etzim in the garden. Explain the two famous trees in the middle of the garden. • Etz-of-Knoweldge-of-Good-and-Evil — If the fruit of this tree was eaten, the person would gain knowledge of all that was good and all that was evil. • Etz-of-Life — If the fruit of this tree was eaten, the person would know all that is sweet in life. 3. Making the Garden of Eden Tissue garden: Using brown construction paper, cut tree trunks and glue them onto a large piece of construction paper. Using a variety of colored tissue paper, create tree branches, fruit, leaves, and flowers to fill the garden. Cut small squares of the tissue paper. Wrap each square around the back of a pencil. Dip in glue and stick onto your picture. Encourage students to create a full picture of the garden. Remind them to place the two famous trees in the middle of the garden. Wrapping paper scrap garden: Use tag board or large scraps of cardboard as the background for the garden. Using only wrapping paper scraps, scissors, and glue, let children imagine and create the Garden of Eden. Recycled garden models: Collect items such as toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, boxes of different sizes and shapes, including toothpaste boxes and cereal boxes, twine, rope. Anything goes! Create three-dimensional models of the garden. The less instruction the better! Let the children imagine and create. It’s a good idea to ask parents to save scraps from wrapping paper. These scraps are great for a variety of art projects. Keep a large bag in your class. Patterns and symbols can be cut from scraps or new patterns can be designed. 4. Planting trees and taking care of a garden. Plant a class garden with herbs or flowers. Care for it throughout the year, assigning different jobs to the students. Maintain a growth chart on large poster board. At the end of the year, or when you choose to stop keeping the garden, transplant the plants into terra cotta pots. First have students paint and decorate the pots and then send the plants to their new homes. If you plant grass in a plain paper or styrofoam cup, you can decorate the cup like a face, and when the grass grows, it will look like hair on top of a head! 6. Music: Sing and learn Tu B’Shvat music. Invite a music teacher to class or use a tape to celebrate Tu B’Shvat with music. Some possible songs are Atzei Zayteem Omdim (“The olive trees are growing,” fun to do in a conga line), Debbie Friedman’s Let’s Dig a Hole… (a Tu B’Shvat story from her collection Shirim Al Galgalim), or “The Planter’s Song” (song by David Mallett; the words begin “Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow…”).
Planting Projects 7. Plant parsley seeds in paper cups filled with soil. Watch and water carefully. The parsley will be ready to cut and use at the seder table. 8. Gather a variety of seeds, fruits, and vegetables to plant. Examples: avocado seed, sunflower seeds, potato, carrot. Put students in groups to plant, water, and care for “their seed or plant.” Students can measure and describe the growth. If your class meets once a week, invite students to do the planting at home and report back on the progress. 9. Be like Honi. Take a walk around the synagogue grounds. What kinds of trees and flowers are planted there? As a class, purchase a small tree or sapling to plant. Put a plaque on the tree that identifies it as a gift from your class. Children will be able to watch the tree grow over the period of years they are in school. (Perhaps when their own children are in school, some of them will be able to say, “My class planted that tree when we were six years old.”)
Other Activities 10. Collaborative Book. One way I can take care of God’s garden is ________________. 11. Have a fruit party. Bring in a variety of fruits (be sure to include a tomato) to see, touch, and describe. Then cut each fruit in half and describe the seed or seeds. Say the blessing for fruit and invite students to taste each one. Then give students the seeds to take home and plant.
Cooking Projects 12. Cake Trees: Plan to make three cakes for a class of fifteen. Decide on two or three different types of trees. Use chocolate frosting for trunks and branches, different shades of green frosting for the different shapes/kinds of trees — darker for pine, lighter for oak (tall trunk, round top), and for palm cut out four or five large banana-shaped pieces for the fronds. Use the tree cakes to celebrate the birthday party for the trees. Read stories and poetry and sing songs about trees. 13. As a class, create a cinquain (see Hanukkah lesson) about trees. 14. Make fruit leather in class or send home the recipe.
Fruit Leather Ingredients 8 cups fruit that has been put through a blender . 1 cup sugar . ¼ cup lemon juice Directions 1. Put plastic wrap on a cookie sheet and spread the fruit mixture thinly and evenly on it. Place the cookie sheet on the top rack in the oven at 150˚ F. Leave oven door open. This process takes several hours. An electric fruit dryer may be used, or the cookie sheet may be set in the sun for several hours. 2. The fruit is dry when you can tear it like leather. Roll fruit up still on the same plastic wrap and store it in a tightly capped jar.
15. Cereal marshmallow treat tree. Make a tree cake. Use a regular Rice Krispies Treats recipe with a few variations. Make each part of the tree in a separate batch. Use cornflakes 65
for leaves. Just mix in some green food coloring with the marshmallow mixture. Mix in brown food coloring (a few drops of red mixed with a few drops of green) for the Rice Krispies trunk. Use Fruity Pebbles for flowers around the base. There is no end to the creative possibilities.
Endings 1. Take a nature walk and collect things like leaves, twigs, and pebbles. Make a class mural out of the materials you’ve collected. The subject of the mural should be trees. 2. You can plant parsley seeds on Tu B’Shvat so that you will have your own home-grown parsley on Passover. Have students plant parsley seeds in cups and see who can grow parsley by the time Passover arrives. 3. If your synagogue will allow you, have the class plant a tree on the grounds of the synagogue in honor of Tu B’Shvat. If this is not possible, collect money to plant a tree in Israel with the Jewish National Fund. If you can, do both. 4. Visit the sanctuary or have the rabbi, educational director, or cantor come to class with a Torah so the students can better see the atzei hayyim. Have that person explain why the rollers and Torah are called trees of life. 5. Have a birthday party for the trees complete with cupcakes students decorate themselves. Learn songs for Tu B’Shvat and brainstorm ideas of gifts you would give to trees. 6. Read a Tu B’Shvat story such as The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein, and talk about the gifts the tree gave the boy. Other suggestions: Tamar’s Sukkah by Ellie Gellman and Tikvah Means Hope, written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco. 7. Learn the blessing for fruit from trees. Have a fruit snack such as apples or oranges and say the blessing before eating. . ���
Barukh Attah Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam, borei pri ha-etz. Blessed are You, the Eternal Our God, Ruler of the Cosmos, Who creates fruit of the trees.
Family Education 1. Tu B'Shvat Seder. There is a custom to eat at least fifteen types of fruit on Tu B’Shvat. Plan a classroom Tu B’Shvat seder. Invite families to join the class for the last half hour. At the class seder you may want to do some of the following: • Ask some students to retell the story about Honi. • Families get into groups and write poetry about trees. The cinquain format is a good one (see Hanukkah section). • Family groups make collages from the leaves and rocks that children collected on their nature walk. • Learn, sing, and act out Debbie Friedman’s “Plant a Tree for Tu B’Shvat” on the Shirim al Galgalim album. "Whoosh!"
At Home (Family Opportunities) 1. Encourage families to collect tzedakah and buy trees to plant in Israel. “This is the tree we planted on the day you were born.” Encourage families to plant trees in honor of special family occasions and simhas. Planting a tree is also a meaningful thing to do when someone dies. 2. Send home a list of nurseries where families might go to purchase small trees. 3. Encourage families to make fruit salad on Tu B’Shevat. 4. Send home a list of nature activities that families can do together. • Get a book about trees, then go on a nature walk and try to identify the trees that grow near their homes. • See if your community has an arboretum where families can go to study a wide variety of trees.
Resources Websites The Jewish National Fund. www.jnf.org or email@example.com Jacob Richman has fifty-five websites about Tu B’Shvat. Check out www.jr.co.il/hotsites/j-hdaytu. htm
Music “Plant A Tree For Tu B’Shevat.” Music and Lyrics by Debbie Friedman. Shirim Al Galgalim. Sounds Write Publishing, 1994.
Books Appelman, Harlene, and Jane Shapiro. A Seder for Tu B’Shevat. Kar-Ben Publishing. Burstein, Chaya M. The Kids’ Catalog of Animals and the Earth. The Jewish Publication Society. Elon, Ari, Naomi Mara Hyman, and Arthur Waskow, editors. Trees, Earth, and Torah: A Tu B’Shvat Anthology. Jewish Publication Society. Goldman, Gabriel. Listen to the Trees: Jews and the Earth. URJ Press. A collection of stories and sayings that teach about Judaism’s commitment to care for and protect the environment. Rouss, Sylvia A. The Littlest Tree. Simcha Media Group. Rouss, Sylvia. Sammy Spider’s First Tu B’Shvat. Kar-Ben Publishing. Dr. Seuss. The Lorax. Random House. Swartz, Nancy Sohn. In Our Image: God’s First Creatures. Jewish Lights Publishing.
Purim Focus Purim is a holiday that brings the book of Esther to life. With costumes and plays, with carnivals, and with an animated reading we bring the story of Esther to life.
Esther is the story of a person in hiding who rises to action when the moment comes. It is also the story of a hiding God who leaves the action to people. It is the story of Jews saving the Jewish people. God becomes the enabler, not an actor in this story. The Esther holiday is the story of people finding the heroic in themselves and then doing what is necessary. The Purim celebration with the noise makers and costumes, with booths and the rest of the elements, is a chance for us to discover ourselves and our strengths. It is built on the irony that our real self can emerge when we wear a mask. The Purim celebration is hung on four mitzvot. Each reveals an aspect of the message. These are four actions commanded by Mordechai: (1) reading the Megillah, (2) celebrating, (3) gifts for friends, and (4) gifts for the poor. The actions lead us to understand the essence of Esther, Mordechai, Haman, and Ahashuarus.
Central Idea The essence of Purim is to find our inner Esther, to know that we have the strength and ability to do what is needed.
Enabling Ideas • Purim allows us to struggle with evil and with what it takes to defeat evil. • Purim reenacts the story of Esther and Mordecai. • Purim is most of all a celebration. • Purim is not only about our good time; it is also about remembering friends and the poor. Starters 1. Introduce Purim by reading a Purim story. On Purim by Cathy Goldberg Fishman is a good one. 2. Introducing the Purim characters. Ask what the students know and remember about Purim. Introduce the characters of the Purim story. You can make pictures or use pictures from holiday books that depict each character. Introduce each character by holding up the picture and saying, “I would like you to meet Esther. She is…” Tell a little bit about each character.
3. Play a game of Hot Potato with the pictures. Whoever is holding a picture when the music stops must tell that character’s name and a little bit about him or her. 4. Tell the Purim story with a prop bag. Pull the props out of the bag as you tell the story. Encourage students to use the props and become the Purim characters. Some suggestions for props: King Ahashuarus — a cane, a king’s crown, a bathrobe Vashti — a feather boa, high heels, jewelry Esther — a robe, slippers, jewelry Mordechai — a black top hat or kippah, a tallit Haman — a black three-cornered hat, a black robe or cape 5. Tell the Purim story using five hats. Bring two crowns (one for a king; one for a queen), a veil, a Persian hat or kippah, and a three-cornered hat. Tell the Purim story, changing hats each time you talk about Esther, Ahashuarus, Mordechai, Vashti, and Haman. 6. Students come into class to find a table set with Purim symbols: a shalah manot basket, groggers of different kinds, a veil, some hamantashen, a Purim storybook, a miniature Megillah. If possible, play Purim songs in the background. Begin the lesson by talking about each of the items. 7. Invite the rabbi or some other guest to bring a Megillah, read some of it, and answer students’ questions about the Purim story. Discuss: How is a Megillah different from a Torah scroll?
Developing the Ideas 1. Lead a discussion after the telling of the story, asking students questions in this form: “What would you do if…?” Allow them to become the characters. Some suggestions for questions are “If you were Vashti, would you have gone to the party? How might the Purim story have been different if Vashti remained the queen?” “If you were Mordechai, what would be your plan to save the Jews?” “If you were the king, how would you have reacted when you found out Esther was Jewish?” 2. Talk about what Jews do on Purim. Then create a class book based on A Sense of Shabbat (Torah Aura Productions). Call your class Purim book A Sense of Purim. Include words that describe the sounds and smells of Purim. 3. The order of the story. You will need six 4” x 6” note cards. Divide the Purim story into six parts (sentences). Put one part or sentence on each card. You might photocopy pictures from the story and put those on the cards, too. Mix up the cards and ask students to put the cards in correct story order. 4. Make a class mural that tells the Purim story. Label each section of the story. Roll the mural like a Megillah to keep in the class library to read throughout the rest of the year. 5. Personalizing character traits. Fold 18” x 24” newsprint into four equal sections. Also give each student a page that contains four sentence starters. Ask students to cut out the sentences and paste one in each section of the newsprint. Complete the sentences and draw a picture to go with each. I am like Haman when I _ _________________________ .
I am like Esther when I _ __________________________ . I am like Mordechai when I ________________________ . I am like Vashti when I _ __________________________ . 6. Purim is about overcoming evil. Discuss with the class some of the times we do bad things. Make a collaborative book in the shape of Haman’s hat. Each student completes a page: I am like Haman when I ____________________ (beat up my brother, steal gum from the store, lie to my parents, etc.). 7. Make paper bag puppets depicting the characters in the Purim story. Go to http:// www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/puppets/paperbag/ Students will have a wonderful time retelling the Purim story with the characters on their hands. 8. Family Feud. Explain to the students that they are going to learn about eight things they can do on Purim. Open the lesson by playing a simplified version of “Family Feud.” Create two teams. One student from each team approaches a table with a bell. The teacher or leader reads two sentences. The student who rings the bell first guesses which is a correct statement. Some suggestions for sentences are: • On Purim we read the Torah, or on Purim we read the Megillah. • We make lots of noise when Haman is named, or we make lots of noise when Judah is named. • We play a game with a ra’ashan, or we play a game with a dreidel. • On Purim we dress in costumes, or on Purim we have a carnival, or on Purim we go to the movies.
Projects and Activities Deepen the understanding of Purim by doing some of the following. 1. Invite students to tell the Purim story using finger puppets or paper bag puppets. 2. Make a grogger to shake and use during the Megillah reading. Students can also use the grogger when the Purim story is told in class.
Handmade Graggers Materials Needed Juice cans (cleaned and dried) adhesive backed paper (Contact paper works well) Stickers or colored tape Jingle bells Scissors Glitter glue White glue Pipecleaners Directions 1. Prepare the juice can by making sure the can is washed and dried.
2. To make the end caps for the can, trace the circular end on the adhesive paper. Draw another circle 1" larger than the outline circle. Cut out the circles. 3. With the scissors make cuts spaced 1" apart around the circle, from the outer edge in. Make two, one for each end of the can. 4. Peel off the backing of the adhesive paper. Cover one end of the juice can. Place 1 or 2 jingle bells inside. 5. Poke a hole in the center of the metal or plastic end of the can. Bend a pipe cleaner in half and insert the two ends into the hole. On the inside of the can, twist the two ends to prevent them from slipping back through the can. The wire loop on the outside of the can will be your handle. 6. Attach the other paper circle over the open end of the can, sealing the jingle bells inside. 7. Cut a strip of adhesive paper which is the width of the can and is long enough to wrap around the can with 1" of overlap. Remove the paper backing and wrap around the can, covering the entire outside of the juice can. 8. Now let's decorate it. You can use colored tape to make stripes or decorative shapes and symbols. Personalize you gragger with some of your favorite stickers. Draw decorative lines with glitter glue. Shake off the excess.
Paper Plate Gragger (Makes 12) Things You'll Need Paper plates Stapler and staples Dried pinto beansâ€”â…“ cup per student Crayons Stamps and stamp pads Glitter and glue Assorted ribbons, cut in 12" lengths Directions 1. With the right side of the paper plate facing you (the side that you would normally use for food) hold the plate on opposite sides. Fold these two edges together, and put a slight crease into the paper plate. 2. Open up the paper plate and put it on the table with the right side towards the table. You'll want to have the bottom of the paper plate facing up, because that is the side that will be decorated. 3. Let the children at your Purim festival have a great time decorating the bottom side of their paper plate with crayons, glitter glue, stamps and stamp pads. Let them know that the plate will be folded in half. Many children like to make two different decorations, one for each side of the plate. 4. Have an adult fold the plate in half so that the decorated sides are on the outside. Using staples, join the two sides of the plate, spacing the staples about one inch apart. STOP stapling about three quarters of the way around the plate. 5. Open the plate where it has not been stapled closed. Pour â…“ cup of dried pinto beans inside the paper plate. Then finish stapling the paper plate closed to seal it so the beans don't come out. 6. Then staple the paper plate nearly closed. Leave just enough space to insert a few ribbons into the plate.
7. Tuck the ends of a ribbon or two just inside of the paper plate. Staple the plate closed. Be sure that the staples go through the ribbon to hold it in place. 8. Hold the gragger where it has been folded in half and shake, shake, shake when Haman's name is read.
Toilet Paper Roll Gragger (Makes 12) Things You'll Need 12 cardboard core from a toilet paper roll 12 piece of sandpaper Tape Scissors 12 popsicle sticks 12 emory boards Craft glue 4 cups of dried pinto (or other) beans 1. Turn the sandpaper so that the rough part faces down. Place the toilet paper roll so that it stands on the sand paper. Trace around the circular end of the roll. Then draw a larger circle that shares the same center-point and is about 1/4 inch bigger than the first. Cut out the large circle. Then cut little snips at 1/4 inch intervals all around the circle from the outer edge of the circle into and touching but not cutting through the outline of the smaller circle. Make a second piece that is exactly the same. Tape one of the circles (sandpaper side facing OUT) to one end of the toilet paper roll. The little snips allow you to fold the sand paper over the circular opening and onto the outside of the cylinder. Save the second circle for later. 2. Pour â…“ cup of dried pinto (or other) beans into the toilet paper roll. 3. Place one Popsicle stick into the toilet paper roll so that it touches one side and sticks out like a handle. Make sure that at least two inches of the stick are on the inside of the roll. Use craft glue to attach the stick to the cardboard. Hold the stick gently until it is dry enough to stay in place. 4. Fold down two of the snips that you cut in the second sand paper circle so that when you place this on the open end of the roll- the one that has the popsicle stick--these flaps fit inside the roll and touch the stick. Place a small dot of glue on both of these flaps where they will touch the stick. Tape the other flaps to the outside edge of the roll like you did the first circle. Now the grogger is like a closed rattle that you can hold by the stick. 5. Cut out a piece of sand paper so that it is large enough to cover the toilet paper roll. Measure the same way you would to wrap a cardboard cylindar with wrapping paper. Line the smooth side of the sand paper with glue. Then wrap the roll so that it is entirely covered with sand paper with the rough side facing out.. 6. Use your grogger whenever the name, Haman, is mentioned at a Purim celebration. Rattle it with the stick. Scratch it with the emery board. Make loud, horrible sounds to remind everyone how evil this plot really was. Of course, you can add ribbons and other decorations to your grogger if you want to.
3. Song: â€œThe Purim Ball,â€? music and lyrics by Debbie Friedman (Shirim Al Galgalim). Teach the song and invite students to show their puppets when each Purim character appears. 4. Make hamantashen. Bring the dough already mixed. Work with students to roll the dough, cut into rounds with cookie cutters, fill, and pinch. Make some to eat, some to in-
clude in the shelah manot gifts. Make extra shelah manot for a senior home or another class in the school. There are many recipes for baking hamantashen. The following is a simple and tasty recipe, or you can use one you are familiar with.
Hamantashen (Makes 3 dozen) Ingredients 4 eggs 1⅓ cup sugar 1 cup of vegetable oil 5⅓ cups flour 1 teaspoon baking powder juice of 1⅓ oranges Filling Jam or Preserves chocolate chips poppy seeds Directions 1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Grease 2 large baking sheets. 2. Beat the eggs. Add the sugar and mix well. 3. Add the oil, flour, baking powder and orange juice and mix until blended. 4. Roll out small amounts of dough at a time until ¼ inch thick. Dough will be soft, so use enough flour on the rolling pin and board so that it doesn’t stick. 5. Place a 2-inch round cookie cutter or glass and cut out circles of dough. 6. Place a rounded teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle of dough. 7. Roll up three sides of the circle and pinch the ends to make triangles. 8. Brush each Hamantaschen with beaten egg for a golden finish. 9. Bake for 15 minutes. When done remove Hamantashen from cookie sheet to cool.
5. Make two shelah manot gifts — one to take home and one to give to a friend. Discuss with the students the mitzvot of giving shelah manot and matanot l’evyonim. Here are some ways to reinforce these concepts. If you choose not to bake hamantashen as a class, you may consider asking each student to bring in a small contribution of cookies, candy, or nuts to be used for matanot l’evyonim. Make baskets or containers for shelah manot and matanot l’evyonim. Choose one or more of the following ways to make containers for your goodies. Paper plate containers: Sponge paint a paper plate with bright colors. After the paint is dry, pinch the plate into three corners and staple. Create a handle out of scrap cardboard. Attach the handle to the plate with a stapler. Place a doily in the center of the plate and fill with goodies. Lunch bag containers: Decorate a regular-size lunch bag with paint or markers. Make a handle by stapling a loop of construction paper over the top of the bag (another option for a handle is to simply use twine and tie it around the neck of the bag after the bag is filled). Line the bag with tissue and fill it with goodies.
Printed tissue paper wrap: Use sponges or potato stamps to decorate colored or white tissue paper. Use two colors and two shapes — a triangle and a small circle. Create a hamantashen print by dotting over the triangle with the circle stamp. Place tissue flat and fill with goodies; gather and tie with yarn or ribbon. 6. Make Purim hats to wear to the school carnival and to the Megillah reading. 7. Design a series of centers in which students move from one station to the next, making a Purim item at each. Examples: Make a grogger; make a shelah manot basket, make a Purim puppet, make a Purim hat or crown. 8. Purim book making: Each child can make his or her own Big Book of the Purim story. The books can be just illustrations, or they may include written dialogue. For those students who are not comfortable writing, you can transcribe their words on each page. Use tag board with holes punched down the left side for each page. Decorate each page with markers, crayons, and miscellaneous art materials. Encourage students to be creative with each part of the story. Pages can have moving parts or fold-outs. Keep Velcro™ adhesive available for Big Book making. 9. Make a Megillah. Tape eight to ten sheets of paper together end to end and attach a paper towel roll to one end to make a scroll. Have children create their own Megillot (plural for Megillah). 10. Reinforcing the Purim story/Purim games. Choose one or more of the following Purim games. a. Story Sequencing — Write parts of the Purim story line by line. Cut the lines into strips. Students need to organize the strips according to the order of the story. Once in the right order, the sentence strips can either be stapled together or mounted on a large piece of construction paper. Some suggestions for sentences are: • There once was a king named Ahashuarus who ruled over the land of Persia. • The queen was named Vashti. She did not listen to the king’s request to come to a party. • The king found a new queen. Esther was her name. She was Jewish, but she did not tell anyone. • The king had a chief advisor named Haman. Haman hated the Jews. • Haman picked the thirteenth of Adar to kill all the Jews in the kingdom. • Mordechai helped save the Jews by encouraging Esther to tell the king she was Jewish. • Mordechai became the king’s new chief advisor. He brought peace to the kingdom. b. Charades — Divide the students into two teams. Each must act out a part of the story while the other team guesses what they are doing. c. Who Am I? — Write on a flash card some simple words to describe a Purim character. A student should read the words (many may need help reading), and the group should guess who they are. For example, a card may read “ESTHER — I am pretty and quiet, I keep secrets, and I was a queen.”
Endings 1. Review the story of Purim. What does Esther teach us? What does Mordechai teach us? What do we learn from Ahashuaras? From Haman? From Vashti? 2. Make body murals of the Purim characters. Have students draw outlines of each other on long pieces of butcher paper and then have them decorate the figures as characters from the Purim story. 3. Have the students learn the blessing for the reading of the Megillah. .
Barukh Attah Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha-olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al mikra Megillah. Blessed are You, The Eternal our God, Ruler of the Cosmos, Who made us holy with mitzvot, commanding us to read the Megillah.
Family Education 1. Invite all parents to come for the last twenty minutes of class. Ask each family to bring candy, peanuts, apples, hamantashen, and other items appropriate for shalah manot. Provide paper plates, markers, and other materials for making and decorating shalah manot containers. Set up a table with all the goodies. Invite families to make two shalah manot gifts — one to take home to a neighbor or friend, and one to trade with a school family. 2. Invite families to bring a box of macaroni and cheese to the megillah reading. Use an unopened box of macaroni as a grogger, then collect all the boxes and donate them to a local food bank. 3. Matanot l’evyonim: Invite parents to join your class for the day. In your letter home, ask families to begin to collect toiletries they may have at home from hotel trips or samples. These include shampoo, soap, conditioner, body gel, toothpaste, and so on. Some families may be able to ask dentists, hairdressers, and others for additional contributions. Have families bring their collections to class. Of course, supplies can also be purchased. Many organizations do not want contributions of mouthwash because of their alcohol content. Diapers, baby wipes, and shaving gear are usually welcome items. Begin class with your regular lesson, inviting parents to participate, and teach about the two key mitzvot associated with Purim: shelah manot and matanot l’evyonim (our project idea fits in the latter category). As your main project for the day, have families sort the supplies and bag them for distribution to a worthy organization (perhaps a domestic violence shelter). Fold down the rims of paper grocery bags and have the children decorate them before filling them with the supplies. To make the mitzvah come alive, invite a spokesperson from the agency that will be the recipient to come to class and talk briefly about the work of their organization. Alternatively, collect literature from various agencies and allow families to choose the beneficiary after learning about the options. If time allows, have families deliver the packages before returning to school for a Purim snack.
At Home (Family Opportunities) 1. Purim is an authentic Jewish time for children and adults to plan for, make, and wear costumes and masks. Send home costume-making resources with an invitation to attend the Megillah reading at the synagogue. 2. Send home five clothespins (the old-fashioned round kind — they are available at craft stores). Invite families to read the Purim story. Then, using scraps and odds and ends, families work together to turn the clothespins into Haman, Mordechai, Esther, Ahashuaras, and Vashti. 3. Send home a recipe for making hamantashen. Encourage families to bake together and deliver hamantashen to friends and relatives or take shalah manot baskets to a local Jewish senior center. 4. Send home two or three really wonderful Purim websites (more than that becomes overwhelming). Babaganews www.babaganewz.com has ideas for costume and mask making, a hamantashen recipe, Purim puzzles and word fun, and ways to send Purim e-cards. Holiday net www.holiday.net/purim/esther.htm has Purim mask outlines.
Resources Websites Jacob Richman lists more than forty Purim websites at www.jr.co.il/hotsites/j-hdaypu.htm.
Music Friedman, Debbie. Shirim Al Galgalim. Sounds Write Productions, Inc.
Books Adelman, Leone. The Mystery Bear: A Purim Story. Clarion Books. Cohen, Barbara. Here Come the Purim Players! URJ Press. Fishman, Cathy Goldberg. On Purim. Atheneum Books for Young Readers. Gelman, Rita Golden. Queen Esther Saves Her People. Scholastic Publishing. Gerstein, Mordicai. Queen Esther the Morning Star. Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing. Goldin, Barbara Diamond. Cakes and Miracles: A Purim Tale. Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books. Rouss, Sylvia. Sammy Spider’s First Purim. Kar-Ben Publishing. Schotter, Roni. Purim Play. Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books. Schram, Peninnah. The Purim Costume. URJ Press. Silberman, Shoshana. The Whole Megillah: Almost. Kar-Ben Publishing. Simpson, Lesley. The Purim Surprise. Kar-Ben Publishing. Wolkstein, Diane. Esther’s Story. HarperCollins Publishers.
Passover Focus Passover can be reduced to one sentence: “I was a slave in Egypt, and God took me out.” It is designed not to remember the Exodus but to experience it. We tell the story. We eat foods that recreate the experience. Passover is about leaving Egypt.
The center of Passover is the seder. The seder, of course, means order. And the seder creates a journey back into the past. Each reading, each prayer, and each food tells part of the story. • Matzah is the poor bread, the slave bread that we ate in Egypt. By the end of the seder it becomes the bread of freedom. That transformation defines the seder experience. • Parsley not only brings us the new growth, the beginning of spring, but we dip it in the salt water of the tears of hard slavery. • Maror, the bitter herb, reminds us of the bitterness of slavery. • Haroset, the fruit, nut, and juice mix, brings back the memory of the mortar used to hold the bricks together. All this leads to the ethical paradigm “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 22:21).
Central Idea The seder leads us to revisit our experience in Egypt. That experience commits us to ethical responsibility toward other people.
Enabling Ideas • Passover reenacts the story of the exodus. • Passover customs and foods help us reenact (or relive) our story, make it personal, and give us ownership of that story. • Passover is a home and family celebration. Starters 1. Students come into class a find a table set for the Pesah seder with white tablecloth, haggadot, seder plate with appropriate seder foods, cup for Elijah, etc. 2. Ask students: Have you ever been to a seder? What do you remember? Collect ideas and memories from the students. Talk about the items on the seder table; each tells a story. In this lesson we’ll talk about the stories and the haggadah that contains all the stories.
3. Discussion: What is a slave? What do you think is the hardest thing about being a slave? You may hear some of the following: I’d have to work really hard without taking a break; I wouldn’t get to decide when to take a break; someone else would be bossing me around all day and might hurt me if I didn’t do what they said. I wouldn’t get to play when I wanted to. The important point to make is that slaves don’t get to make their own decisions about how they spend their time. 4. Show a selection of haggadot. Include some children’s and family haggadot. Explain that the word haggadah means “the telling”. The haggadah is the book that tells the Passover story, the book Jews all over the world use at the seder. Ask students to examine the haggadaot. Explain that although they look different, they all tell the same story, in the same order, with the same symbols and the same songs. Point out the story of the four children in each of the haggadot. Ask students to examine and talk about some of the differences.
Developing the Ideas 1. Eating history. Each seder food, each seder question, and each seder action helps us remember and relive the story of the exodus from Egypt. Pesah connects us to the story of when we were slaves and left Egypt. 2. It’s hard to understand matzah without understanding bread. Refer to the time the class made hallah. Reread the language experience story you wrote and talk about the breadmaking process. Now make matzah (recipe: The How To Handbook for Jewish Living, page 82). Write a language experience story about the making of matzah. Compare the making of bread to the making of matzah. 3. List words that describe matzah (simple, plain, not perfect, flat, crispy) and words that describe bread (puffed up, complex, complicated). For discussion: When are you like bread? When are you like matzah? 4. Our Pesah questions. It is a tradition to ask questions at the seder table. Make a collaborative book in the shape of a matzah. Ask one student to decorate the cover like a piece of matzah. On the first page include the traditional four questions from the haggadah in English, Hebrew, and transliteration. Ask students to think about one important question they have about the Passover story or the seder itself. For the rest of the book, each student completes one page. “One question I would like to ask at Passover is ________________.” Put the pages together and photocopy a complete book for each student to take to his/her seder. Encourage students to read the book at the family seder and invite guests to ask their own Passover questions. 5. Make a huge seder plate from foam core or poster board. For each of the six foods, create a large circle divided into two jigsaw pieces. Each circle pairs a seder food with its story. Example: The picture of maror is matched with slaves at hard labor. Tell or read the story of the exodus. Piece together the plate as each symbol’s meaning is discussed. 6. Elijah. Elijah was a Jewish man, a prophet who lived near Haifa. It’s a tradition to invite Elijah’s spirit to be with us at times when we are thinking about how we want the world to be better in the future. We invite Elijah’s spirit to be with us when a new baby is born, during Havdalah as a new week begins, and at our seder when we begin the second part after the meal. At the seder we put a cup of wine on the table and imagine Elijah visiting us. If you
could ask Elijah to help people make one thing better in the future, what would you ask for? Elijah’s Hebew name is Eliyahu. Sing Eliyahu ha-Navi (Eliyahu the prophet) and ask students to close their eyes and imagine helping Eliyahu/Elijah make their wishes for the world come true. 7. Lessons learned from retelling the Passover story: Post signs in four corners of the room. WE MUST REMEMBER THAT WE WERE ONCE SLAVES. WE MUST REMEMBER THAT NO ONE SHOULD EVER BE A SLAVE. WE MUST REMEMBER THAT GOD SET US FREE. WE MUST REMEMBER THAT GOD CAN ALWAYS LEAD US TO FREEDOM. Once these signs are placed, choose one of the following activities: • Have a different art medium (clay, paints, markers, crayons, charcoal) at each corner. Ask students to visit each corner and illustrate what the sign says (have helpers read the signs). Students can practice their writing skills by titling each picture with the words on the sign. You can reduce the writing by having them begin after the word “that”. • Divide the students evenly among the four corners. In each corner students should discuss and prepare to tell the class what part of the Passover story reminds us of what the sign says. • Ask each student to choose a corner. Tell them that they will have to explain how we remember each of the four things today. What can we do today to remember that God set us free?
Projects and Activities 1. Cooking: Haroset from all over the world. Talk about the ingredients for each type. What ingredients do all the recipes have in common? Copy all the recipes for students to take home in their seder kits. Each recipe will make enough for 4–6 students.
ashkenazic HAROSET Ingredients 1 apple ½ cup finely chopped nuts ½ Tb cinnamon 1 Tb sugar ½ Tb wine or grape juice Directions Peel the apple, remove the core, and grate the apple into a bowl. Chop the nuts very finely and add to the apple. Mix in cinnamon, sugar, and wine or grape juice. Eat with matzah.
ISRAELI-STYLE HAROSET Ingredients 1 apple, peeled, cored, and sliced 3 bananas, sliced 10 dates
½ cup raisins rind of ½ lemon ½ cup chopped nuts ½ cup dry wine or grape juice matzah meal, salt, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, sugar to taste Directions Combine fruits, nuts, and lemon rind in a blender. Add the wine and lemon juice. The mixture will be watery. Transfer into a bowl and add matzah meal to thicken. Season with salt, cinnamon, and sugar.
ITALIAN HAROSET Ingredients 3 sweet or tart apples 2 pears 2 cups sweet red wine or grape juice ⅓ cup pine nuts ⅔ cup ground almonds ½ pound dates, pitted and chopped ¾ cup yellow raisins 4 oz. dried plums, pitted and chopped ½ cup sugar or honey to taste 1 teaspoon cinnamon ½ teaspoon ground ginger Directions 1. Peel and core the apples and pears and cut in small pieces. 2. Put all the ingredients into a pan and cook on very low heat, stirring occasionally, for about an hour, until the fruits are very soft. Add a little water if it gets too dry. 4. Pour into a serving bowl and refrigerate until ready for the seder.
TURKISH HAROSET Ingredients 2 sweet apples, peeled and cut in small pieces ½ pound pitted dates 1 cup raisins juice and grated zest of 1 orange 1 cup wine or grape juice 3 tablespoons sugar 2 ounces coarsely chopped walnuts Directions 1. Put the apples, dates, raisins, orange juice, orange zest, and red wine into a saucepan and cook on very low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is soft and mushy and the liquid is reduced. 2. Add the sugar. 3. Put the mixture in a bowl and mix together until well blended. 4. Pour into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the walnuts. 5. Refrigerate or serve warm.
YEMENITE HAROSET Ingredients 15 dried figs, chopped 15 medium pitted dates, chopped 3 tablespoons lightly toasted sesame seeds 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground ginger Dash of ground coriander Pinch of cayenne pepper ¼–½ cup dry red wine or grape juice Directions 1. Finely chop the figs, dates, sesame seeds, cinnamon, ginger, coriander, and cayenne pepper. 2. Stir in enough wine to make a paste. 3. Chill in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature.
2. Make matzah. During the process of making and eating, compare ingredients, steps, taste, and texture to bread making. Together with the class, write a paragraph about matzah making, baking, and tasting. Then read the paragraph you wrote about bread baking.
Homemade Matzah Ingredients 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup whole-wheat flour Water Directions NOTE: You only have 18 minutes from the time the flour meets the water to put the matzah in the overn or the dough will begin to rise. Have a timer handy. 1. Preheat the oven to 500º (or higher) or use the broiler. Use a cookie sheet covered with foil or parchment. 2. In a large bowl, mix 2 cups all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole-wheat flour and water until you have a soft, kneadable dough. 3. Knead for about 5 minutes. 3. Let the dough rest for a couple of minutes. 4. Break off egg-sized portions of dough and stretch each portion as thin as you can. Then roll it into even thinner oval slabs. 6. Prick each slab with a fork. 7. Place slabs on the baking sheets and as soon as a sheet is filled, place the sheet in the oven. 8. Bake until matzah is crisp and buckled, about 3 minutes. Cool.
3. Use a long piece of butcher paper to create a mural. Draw Moses on one end. Ask each student to draw him- or herself behind Moses on the march out of Egypt. At the bottom of the mural write a caption that reads [“In every generation we see ourselves as if we personal left Egypt.] 4. Haggadah cover: Have the students cover their family’s haggadah with a brown paper bag. If a child does not know the size or does not participate in a yearly seder, use the synagogue’s
haggadah (usually an 8½” x 11” size cover is safe). Ask the students to bring a paper bag to class. Decorate the cover with yarn, ribbon, buttons, and so forth. Write HAGGADAH and the child’s name on the cover. If there is time, they may want to make a special cover for the leader’s haggadah. A variation on this project is to invite the families to participate. Send home directions for sewing a book cover made of fabric. The family can make and decorate the cover at home and bring it to class to share when it is completed. This makes a wonderful family heirloom. 5. Seder plate: Wrap a large paper plate with foil and glue five small muffin tins to the plate. Decorate the plate and tins with paints, yarn, beads, etc. Write the name of each symbol on the seder plate above or beneath each tin (maror, haroset, roasted egg, shank bone, parsley or lettuce). 6. In the bag. Students create ritual and creative items to use at their family sedarim. Each of the following can be made at a class station. Invite parents or madrikhim to help. Students place all the items in a large, decorated shopping bag to take home. a. Steps of the seder booklet b. Four cups c. Seder plate d. Elijah’s cup e. Songs for the seder f. Plagues in a bag g. Afikomen bag h. Pillow for leaning 7. Choose one or both of the following ways to make a Passover storybook. Passover big book: Using large pieces of tag board, create a colorful book retelling the Passover story. Sequencing cards: Make cards with illustrations depicting each part of the story. Cover the cards with contact paper or laminate them. Punch holes in a corner of each card and secure them with a metal ring. 8. Songs • “The Afikomen Mambo” by Rabbi Joe Black • Dayenu • Had Gadya. Gather props to represent each character (cat, dog, stick). Each child takes a prop and waves it at the appropriate moment in the song. • Eliyahu ha-Navi
Endings 1. As review, dramatize the story of the Exodus from Egypt. 2. Play “Who Am I?” with the seder symbols. For each seder symbol, think of one or two clues. Read them aloud. Invite students to guess what symbol is being described. 3. Play Passover Bingo with pictures from the story and symbols of the seder. Instead of calling out the name of the picture itself, give a clue; let students figure out the answer and then cover that square on their cards.
Family Education Make a game board big enough for the students to be human markers in a game called “Walk through Passover.” Each space should either be an aspect of the Passover story or a ritual symbol associated with Passover. Students can work on answering questions in groups of families, with one student appointed to be the “marker.” This game is best used as a review.
At Home (Family Opportunities) 1. Send home ideas to enhance the family seder. See Ron Wolfson’s “Ten Tips for a Great Seder”. 2. Send home an invitation to the synagogue seder. 3. Send home a list of interesting haggadot with brief descriptions of each and stores or websites where they can be purchased. 4. As a family, rent and watch Moses, Prince of Egypt. What do we learn from this movie about being a slave? What’s the difference between being a slave and being free? Why do Miriam and the people sing and celebrate when they cross Sea of Reeds? When do you feel like a slave? When do you feel free? 5. Send home a booklet of family-friendly Pesah recipes. It would be fun to get a favorite recipe from the rabbi, cantor, educator, and synagogue administrator. Add one of your own and, if you have a madrikh, invite him/her to contribute one as well.
Resources Music The Rabbi Joe Black Songbook. 1991 Lanitunes Music.
Websites Jacob Richman’s compilation of more than 100 Pesah websites: www.jr.co.il/hotsites/j-hdaypa. htm
Books Balsley, Tilda. Let My People Go! Kar-Ben Publishing. Cohen, Deborah Bodin. Nachshon, Who Was Afraid to Swim: A Passover Story. Kar-Ben Publishing. Passover (Ultimate Sticker Books). DK Children. Geras, Adele. Rebecca’s Passover. Frances Lincoln Children’s Books. Howland, Naomi. The Matzah Man: A Passover Story. Clarion Books. Jules, Jacqueline. Going on a Hametz Hunt. Kar-Ben Publishing. Kimmelman, Leslie. The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah. Holiday House. Manushkin, Fran. Miriam’s Cup: A Passover Story. Scholastic Inc. Miller, Deborah Uchill. Only Nine Chairs: A Tall Tale for Passover. Kar-Ben Publishing. Portnoy, Mindy Avra. A Tale of Two Seders. Kar-Ben Publishing. Rouss, Sylvia. Sammy Spider’s First Passover. Kar-Ben Publishing. Sper, Emily. The Passover Seder. Cartwheel. Waldron, Kathleen Cook. A Wilderness Passover. Red Deer Press. Weber, Elka. The Yankee at the Seder. Tricycle Press.
Wolfson, Ron. The Art of Jewish Living: The Passover Seder. This book also has a companion workbook and an audio tape for learning seder tunes. Ziefert, Harriet. Passover: Celebrating Now, Remembering Then. Blue Apple Books. Zolkower, Edie Stolts. Too Many Cooks: A Passover Parable. Kar-Ben Publishing. Zucker, Jonny. Four Special Questions. Barronâ€™s Educational Series. Zusman, Evelyn. Passover Parrot. Kar-Ben Publishing.
Yom ha-Atzma’ut Focus Yom ha-Atzmaut says “The State of Israel is important to us.” It is a modern holiday based on a well-documented historical moment, yet it has a mythic impact.
Israel has a national day of celebration preceded by a national day of mourning. Outside of Israel there are often communal parades, celebrations, and gatherings. Religiously, most Jews use it as a day to say Hallel, signaling the creation of the modern State of Israel as a miracle. The essence of this unit is to say “I love Israel.” Whatever we learn, eat, and do must be designed to build a connection. We want every participant to feel that (a) Israel is their country, (b) they have a deep connection to Israel, and (c) they want to go to Israel. Israeli flags and falafel, singing and dancing, pieces of history and personal experiences are all tools in the pursuit. Knowing about Israel is important, and we hope your students will have a number of opportunities to do that in the future. Right now however, with Yom ha-Atzmaut at the center, we are building a relationship.
Central Idea Every Jew is connected to the State of Israel. It is every Jew’s home.
Enabling Ideas 1. Israel connects us to our history, to the Torah, and to all other Jewish people. 2. Every Jew has two homes: the place where he or she lives and a spiritual (and potentially actual) home in Israel. 3. The name Yisrael gives us three connections: 1) a connection to the patriarch Jacob and his God wrestling; 2) a connection to Am Yisrael, the Jewish people; 3) a connection to eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel. 4. Yom ha-Atzma’ut, Israeli Independence Day, is an important religious holiday for all Jews, no matter where they live. 5. Learning about the modern State of Israel is a mitzvah.
Starters 1. Invite an Israeli family to be guest speakers. Ask each of them to tell something about their country. Invite students to ask questions about the city they lived in, the schools the children attended, the food they ate, places they shopped. Talk about what it was like to grow up in Israel.
2. Show a map of the world. Locate the United States and Israel. Talk about how small Israel is, but explain how large and how important it is in our minds, in our hearts, in our lives. 3. Make personal connections. Find out if any students have been to Israel. Why did you go? Who did you go with? What did you see? Do you have pictures to share with the class? 4. Another way to make connections. Invite every student to bring something from home that is made in Israel or associated with Israel. (Students who don’t have anything can draw a picture.) Each student is invited to tell his/her own story about the object. 5. Display the Israeli flag. Discuss the colors, stripes, and star. Then show a tallit. In what ways are the flag and the tallit similar?
Developing the Ideas 1. Collect Israeli items — those brought by the students and some of your own — to create a class display. Include Israeli money, some food products with Hebrew labels, and an Israeli newspaper. (Invite students to pick out letters they know.) 2. Where is your home? Jews live in every country. But every Jew has two homes; Israel is also our home. Why do you think we can call Israel our home? Collect responses. Why is Israel so important to the Jewish people? 3. Birthdays. Every person has a birthday. Ask: How do you celebrate your birthday? Countries have birthdays, too. The birthday of the United States is July 4. How does the United States cel ebrate its birthday? Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel, has a birthday. Jews around the world celebrate Israel’s birthday. Discuss how Jews in Israel celebrate Yom ha-Atzma’ut and how Jews in Israel and in the United States celebrate. 4. Read a story about Yaakov in A Child’s Garden of Torah. How did Yaakov become Yisrael? What’s our connection to Yaakov? Why did Yaakov wrestle with God? 5. Read Israel from the Air or just show the gorgeous photographs to help students see the variety of terrains and cities in Israel. Teachable moment. When students tell you that they have a new brother or sister, invite your class to welcome the new baby to the Jewish people. Make a collaborative book in which each student completes the following: “My wish for the new baby is_________________.” Compile all the pages. Ask the big brother or sister to decorate the cover with “Welcome to B’nai Yisrael” (the Jewish family) and take the book home. 6. Make a collaborative book. Cut the cover and pages in the shape of Israel. On each page begin the sentence: “Israel is special because _______________________.” When completed, staple the pages together, read the book to the class, and add it to the class library.
Projects and Activities Deepen the connection to and understanding of Yisrael by doing some of the following. 1. Make a huge map of Israel. Lay it on the floor and cover it with clear contact paper. Label the important cities and the bodies of water. 2. Make a salt and flour map of Israel. Draw a large outline of the Israel on foam core or heavy poster board. Push and spread the dough around so it fits into the outline of the map. Add bits of dough for mountains; make indentations in the dough for water. After
the dough dries, use markers to color in the four cities discussed in the booklet and other important places the students know or have heard about. Recipe for salt and flour dough: Use equal parts salt and flour. Add enough water to make a workable dough. 3. Make several Israeli foods. Examples: hummus, Israeli salad, falafel. Talk about why these foods are indigenous to Israel.
Hummus (Serves 10) Ingredients 1 can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas) ¼ cup tahina/tehini (sesame paste) ⅓ cup lemon juice 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon pepper 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Directions 1. Pour all the ingredients into a big bowl. 2. Using your hands (or a potato masher) mush all the ingredients together until it feels kind of like chunky peanut butter. 3. Use a spatula to put the hummus on a plate or in a small bowl. Drizzle some olive oil on top. (Israelis like to decorate their hummus with paprika or toasted pine nuts.)
Falafel Balls Ingredients 1 cup of canned garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas) ¼ cup chopped onion 1½ cups water 2 tablespoons chopped parsley ¾ cup soybean flour 10 chopped garlic cloves 2 teaspoons lemon juice 2 teaspoons cumin 1 egg 3 teaspoons paprika 1 slice of bread, broken up into crumbs 6 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 9 cups vegetable oil Directions 1. Blend garlic, chopped onion, parsley, egg and garbanzo beans in a food processor. 2. Add soybean flour, lemon juice, cumin, paprika, bread crumbs, and baking powder. Blend some more. 3. Heat three cups vegetable oil in a wok or deep pan over medium heat. 4. Spoon out the mushy falafel mixture into your hands and roll into ½-inch balls.
5. Fry the balls in the hot oil until they’re golden or dark brown. Replace the oil if it gets very dirty or dark.
Tehina Sauce (Serves 8) Ingredients ¾ cup tahini (sesame paste) ¾ cup water, more if needed ¼–½ teaspoon salt, more if needed ¼ cup strained fresh lemon juice, or more to taste 4 cloves garlic, minced cayenne pepper (optional) ¼ teaspoon ground cumin (optional) Directions 1. If you are opening a jar of tahini, stir to blend before measuring it. 2. Spoon the tahini paste into a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in ¾ cup water. 3. Add the salt, lemon juice, garlic, cayenne and cumin. Taste and add more salt, lemon juice and cayenne if you like. If the sauce is too thick, stir in more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. 4. Serve cool or at room temperature.
4. Teach a simple Israeli dance. Mayim is a good one. You can simplify it for five- and sixyear-olds. Mayim is the Hebrew word for water. The song talks about the joy of taking water out of the well. Ask students to guess why this would be such an important dance in Israel. 5. Teach a Hebrew song. 6. Make an Israeli flag for Yom ha-Atzma’ut. Use 8½” x 11” paper with the stripes and star drawn on it. Put a sentence starter on one of the stripes: “I love Israel because__________________________.” Put the student’s photo in the center of the star. 7. Ask students to decorate their flags with symbols and pictures that show what Israel means to them. Add a dowel and carry the flags in a Yom ha-Atzma’ut parade or celebration. Don’t add the dowel and send the class flags to Israeli soldiers. 8. For the scrapbook. Make and decorate a page that says “This is me getting on the plane to go to Israel.” 9. Make a huge class collage of Israeli images from magazines, newspapers, and travel brochures.
Endings Pretend that it’s December. Compare what it’s like to be in Israel with what it’s like to be in the United States. If you look around your neighborhood or go to a shopping mall, you’ll probably see lots of red and green and Christmas decorations. If you go to a big shopping mall in Israel, you will probably see decorations for Hanukkah. For eight nights you would probably see a hannukiyah with candles burning in it in most homes in your neighborhood. The bakery around the corner from your house would have sufganiyot instead of Christmas cookies. Why do you think this is the case? How do you think it would feel to be in Israel at that time of year?
Family Education Invite families to class to view the display of Israeli items, learn some Hebrew songs, and sample some Israeli food. Encourage parents and students to wear blue and white.
At Home (Family Opportunities) 1. Send home a bookmark in the shape of Israel with the names of five good books about Israel. 2. Make sure parents know about opportunities to celebrate Yom ha-Atzma’ut; participate in missions to Israel; mark special occasions by sending money to the Jewish National Fund for reforestation of the desert.
Resources Films Families of Israel, one of a series of Families of the World films. Arden Films, Inc., 2000. <www. familiesoftheworld.com> 1-800-765-5885. A thirty-minute film that depicts kibbutz life as told by a nine-year-old girl and city life as told by a first-grade boy. Both children talk about their days, from getting up in the morning to bedtime. An excellent way to show American kids about life in Israel, issues of water and conservation, what schools look like, how families spend their leisure time.
Books Armeland, Galia. Aleph-Bet Israel. EKS Press. Fontes, Justine. Israel (A to Z). Children’s Press. Grossman, Laurie. Children of Israel. Carolrhoda Books, Inc. Grossman, Laurie. Colors of Israel. First Avenue Editions. Italia, Bob. Israel. Checkerboard Books. Lehman-Wilzig, Tami. Zvuvi’s Israel. Kar-Ben Publishing. Manushkin, Fran. Come, Let Us Be Joyful! The Story of Hava Nagila. URJ Press. Pohl, Kathleen. Looking at Israel. Gareth Stevens Publishing. Roop, Peter, and Connie Roop. A Visit to Israel. Heinemann Educational Books. Rouss, Sylvia. Sammy Spider’s Frst Trip to Israel: A Book about the Five Senses. Kar-Ben Publishing. Schwartz, Howard. Jerusalem of Gold: Jewish Stories of the Enchanted City. Jewish Lights Publishing. Segal, Sheila F. Joshua’s Dream: A Journey to the Land of Israel. URJ Press. Waldman, Neil. The Never-Ending Greenness: We Made Israel Bloom. Boyds Mills Press.
Shavuot Focus Shavuot is a holiday with two stories. The first is “God gave us the Torah at Mount Sinai.” The second story is “We used to bring a tithe from our harvest to the Temple in Jerusalem.” Along with the second story comes the Book of Ruth.
Shavuot is a simple holiday. It is the only one of the pilgrimage festivals that is not a week long. Other than the usual synagogue prayers, there are only a few major Shavuot customs. Studying all night reenacts the preparation of the Jewish people to receive the Torah. The eating of dairy foods has a number of different midrashic origins but may be the most concrete of the customs. This is a quieter holiday than Simhat Torah, the other Torah holiday. There the Torah is an object of adoration. It is dancing and singing. Here the Torah is the source of reflection. We think not about finishing and starting the physical Torah but about the spiritual moment when the Torah was revealed. This is the time of the giving and receiving of the Torah. Words connect us to God. Like each of the pilgrimage festivals, Shavuot has an agricultural layer. It comes at the end of the spring harvest. It is a time of grain tithes and of celebrating first fruits. Shavuot’s name — weeks — memorializes a counting of seven weeks from the second day of Passover and emphasizes the harvest side of the holiday. It is the timing of a series of grain offerings, the omer. The book of Ruth meshes these two stories. First it has Ruth accepting a relationship with God when she converts to Judaism, and then it shows how the biblical rules of farming led to everyone being fed. Shavuot is at the beginning of the Jewish year (which starts near Passover), but it feels like the end of the year because of the timing of schools in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the least known and most missed Jewish holiday because it is usually an ending point of Jewish learning, and it stands out only to those students who experience confirmation on it.
Central Idea Shavuot recalls both the giving of the Torah and tithes in the Temple. It connects us to both Torah and the rhythm of the natural year.
Enabling Ideas • Shavuot connects us to the story of receiving the Torah at Mt. Sinai and to the harvest. • Judaism is a religion of time, aiming at the sanctification of time — making time holy.
Starters 1. Introducing the language of Shavuot a. Explain that Shavuot comes exactly seven weeks after Pesah. The word shavuot is the Hebrew word for “weeks”. b. Ask for a volunteer to look at a class calendar and count seven weeks from Passover to discover on what day Shavuot falls this year. 2. Ask questions. Here are some suggested questions to ask. • “What two stories are told on Shavuot?” The story of receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai and the story of the yearly harvest in Eretz Yisrael. • “Where did God speak the words of the Torah?” At Mount Sinai. • “What happens during a harvest?” All the fruits are picked from the ground and the trees. • “What did the Jews bring to the Temple in Jerusalem as a gift to God?” The best fruits from their harvest. • “What are the best first fruits called?” Bikkurim. • “What important event happened on Shavuot?” The giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. 3. Measuring time. Bring a Jewish calendar to class. Point out Pesah and then Shavuot. Together count the number of weeks between the two holidays. Shavuot means “weeks”. There are seven weeks between Pesah and Shavuot. What is the story that Pesah tells? (The exodus from Egypt.) What is the story Shavuot tells? 4. Remind students that Jews say Shavua tov at the end of Shabbat. We wish each other a good week. Can you hear shavua in Shavuot? Shavua means “week” and shavuot means “weeks”. 5. Mount Sinai and the Ten Commandments. Choose one of the following stories to read about Shavuot. • My Very Own Shavuot, by Judyth Groner and Madeline Wikler. This story describes the customs and traditions of the holiday. • The Ten Commandments, by Fern Howard. This story tells about each of the Ten Commandments. • Ten Good Rules, by Susan Remick Topek. A short, wonderfully illustrated introduction to the Ten Commandments. • Any children’s Bible that contains the story of Ruth. • God’s Mailbox, by Rabbi Marc Gellman. This book of stories for children and adults has several specific stories about Moses writing down the Ten Commandments. 6. Sometimes it is fun to expose children to creative midrash. Assign students parts associated with the revelation at Sinai, such as Moses, Mount Sinai itself, a rock on Mount Sinai, a sheep at the foot of Mount Sinai, etc. Have them get into position and then interview each child and have them describe what they see (what it was like as Moses came down Mount Sinai). 7. Ask students if they have ever picked blueberries, strawberries, apples, pumpkins, grapes, or any other kind of fruit or vegetable. Have them describe the experience. In 91
biblical times, before eating their harvest, the Jews did two things with the grain and fruit they grew. They brought the first fruits to the Temple as a way to thank God for the harvest, and they purposely left some of the fruit and grain in the corners of their fields for the poor. This mitzvah is called peah, which means “corner”. And they weren’t supposed to pick up any grains or fruits or vegetables that dropped. This was called leket (gleanings). In the story of Ruth we learn that Ruth met Boaz when she was picking up the gleanings dropped from his harvest. 8. On Mt. Sinai God spoke the Ten Commandments. This is a good time to introduce another Torah story. Read “The Ten Commandments” from A Child’s Garden of Torah (see pages 89–91). In this story the Ten Commandments are re-worded in ways that make them accessible to young children. 9. Read A Mountain of Blintzes by Barbara Diamond Goldin. This delightful children’s book about Shavuot was inspired by the Chelm stories. Sarah and Max plan for Shavuot, but a lot of things happen; in the end, children save the day.
Developing the Ideas Na’aseh v’nishma. We will do and we will listen. 1. God said to Israel, “I want to give you the Torah.” The people Israel accepted the Torah before they even knew what it was. When are some times that you will just do something even if you don’t know the reason why? Collect responses. You may hear (or you can prompt) some of the following: When my parents tell me I need to do something even if I don’t understand why. If someone yelled “Fire!” I would leave quickly and ask questions later. Ask students why they think the people Israel accepted the Torah when they didn’t know what it was. What does “We will do and we will listen” mean? 2. Make a visit to the sanctuary to examine the two tablets. Explain to students that the commandments are written in shorthand. Point out and read each of the commandments. 3. Read “The Rock Words” from God’s Mailbox. This story begins by telling us that Moses “wrote short” because he couldn’t write down everything God said. It goes on to beautifully explain the meaning of each of the commandments. After reading the story, ask students to explain the commandments in their own words. 4. Discuss with the class what a harvest is. Invite a farmer or gardener to class to talk about the process of harvesting fruits and vegetables. 5. What are bikkurim? The gifts Jews brought to the Temple in Jerusalem for God. How do we give God bikkurim today? Make a list of ways we show love for God. Some possible answers are: • by the way we act toward others. • by going to religious school and learning Torah. • by going to temple. • by praying. 6. Read “What Can We Promise God?” from Seven Delightful Stories for Every Day (page 12), a story that tells what happens when Moses brings down the tablets from Sinai. In this story God wonders how God can be sure the people will follow the rules.
7. With your students, make a list of all the Torah stories you know or have talked about during the year. If you have been making a class Torah all year, this is a good time to review the stories, to roll your Torah, and to make a cover, decorations, breastplate, and crown. Carry the class Torah into the sanctuary. 8. Read the story of Ruth. Marvell Ginsburg has written a good adaptation that can be found in Jewish Every Day by Maxine Segal Handelman (A.R.E.) on page 256. What are the lessons we learn from the story of Ruth? Review the key things that happen in the story, then act out the story or make finger puppets to act out the story. 9. Shavout comes at the end of the school year and provides opportunities for review. Throughout the year your students have talked about many ways to become God’s partners and help take care of other people. Ask: What are some of the ways we’ve talked about? (giving tzedakah, visiting sick people, welcoming guests, doing mitzvot, becoming a mensch). We learn another way from Ruth’s story. We learn about leaving some of what is grown for the poor. Since we are not farmers, what are some ways we can leave gleanings? 10. Read “A Corner for the Poor” on page 95 in God’s Garden by Adam Fisher (Behrman) a short, wonderful story about gleaning with questions for discussion and storytelling props and tips. 11. Our tradition says that all of us were at Sinai. Talk about or act out what it might have been like to wander in the desert for seven weeks and then learn that Moses went up Mt. Sinai. Moses is coming down the mountain with the tablets in his hands. You are waiting at the bottom. Make a collaborative book. Cut the cover and pages in the shape of a mountain. When I was at Mt. Sinai I _______________________. If the timing works, invite one or two of the confirmands to come talk about their experience, answer questions, and read a story to the class. 12. Read The 11th Commandment by Children of America (Jewish Publication Society). This book will motivate a wonderful discussion. Ask students to think about what their 11th commandment might be. Write a class collaborative book: If there were an 11th commandment, what would it be?
Projects and Activities Deepen the understanding of Shavuot by doing some of the following. 1. Create a “standing at Sinai” mural. Make a huge torn-paper mountain and glue it in the center of a large piece of butcher paper. Invite every student to draw him- or herself at Sinai. They will probably want to draw their backsides, since they will be facing the mountain. 2. Invite students to share a Mt. Sinai moment — a time in their lives when they felt God’s presence or did something that demonstrated their partnership with God. 3. Make a large set of the Ten Commandments to keep in your classroom. Use the Child’s Garden of Torah translation. Cut two large tablets from poster board. 4. Shavuot art project. Choose one or more of the following art projects. Torah Making. Select one of the following ways to make a miniature Torah. The lesson on Simhat Torah has additional ideas.
• Make a miniature Torah out of two toilet paper rolls. Wrap the end of a newsprint scroll around each roll. Have students practice writing the Ten Commandments on the scroll in Hebrew or English. • Make a miniature Torah out of two twigs and paper. Make a cover for the Torah out of scrap material. Decorate the cover with sequins and glitter. • Ten Commandments tablets: Cut Ten Commandment tablet shapes out of cardboard. Glue on the text of the commandments and have students decorate the edges by gluing on shredded newspaper. • Fruit collages: Cut pictures of fruit out of magazines or used coloring books and paste them onto large sheets of colored construction paper. Mount the finished collages on cardboard scraps or foam core. • Harvest baskets: Decorate the outside of an egg carton lid. Staple two strips of paper onto the lid for the handle — one across the long side and another across the short side. Tie a ribbon on the top of the two handles where they intersect. Decorate with miscellaneous art materials. 5. Cook and eat blintzes (frozen ones make life easy) in class. Give each student two blintzes lined up vertically side by side to represent the two tablets. 6. Our tradition tells us that when God gave us the Torah the desert bloomed. Take students for a walk to collect flowers and boughs to decorate the sanctuary or classroom. Or students can make tissue-paper flowers to decorate the room. 7. Make finger puppets of the important people in the story of Ruth. Have the puppets act out the story as the teacher reads it. Class Acts by Stan Beiner (A.R.E.) has a good play to use or adapt. 8. Make a Torah sandwich. Using slices of simple white bread, cut off the crusts, spread with something kids love (cream cheese is good because Jews eat dairy on Shavuot), and roll the slice from each side to create effect of two tablets. Use thin carrot or celery sticks for the atzei hayyim.
Endings 1. Review the three stories that are connected with Shavuot — the Ten Commandments, bikkurim, and the story of Ruth. What do we learn from each story? What are some ways we can give bikkurim today? 2. Host a miniature tikkun and Shavuot party. Invite the confirmation class to join your class in the festivities or for a cooperative learning experience. Have them share their Jewish learning experiences and plans for future learning. 3. Have an ice cream party! Celebrate the Torah by singing Torah songs and retelling Torah stories. Decorate ice cream with candies in the shape of the Ten Commandment tablets.
Family Education Decorate the classroom with paper flowers and invite parents to eat blintzes and watch the acting out of the story of Ruth.
At Home (Family Opportunities) 1. Send home a story with questions for families to read and discuss on Shavuot. Encourage parents to let their children stay up later than usual to read the story and do some learning. 2. It is traditional to eat dairy foods on Shavuot. Send home a recipe for blintz soufflé (on back of box of frozen blintzes) and/or individual cheesecakes. 3. Send home a list of websites that will help parents learn more about Shavuot. 4. As a family, talk about ways you can be like Boaz, who purposely left some of his crop for the poor. Some grocery stores encourage customers to buy an extra item or two each time they shop. They drop the extras in a designated barrel near the door.
Resources Websites Jacob Richman’s website lists more than fifty Shavuot places to visit on the web. Go to http://jr.co. il/hotsites/j-hdaysh.htm.
Books Allen, Jan and Russ. Now I Know the Ten Commandments. Light Bugs Publishing. Brown, Michael. The Jewish Gardening Cookbook. Jewish Lights Publishing. Burrows, Stephen. Remember the 10 Commandments Easy as 1,2,3. Evans Books. Cone, Molly. Who Knows Ten? Children’s Tales of the Ten Commandments. URJ Press. Elkins, Dov Peretz. Seven Delightful Stories for Every Day. Pitspopany Press. Fisher, Adam. God’s Garden: Children’s Stories Grown from the Bible. Behrman House, Inc. Gellman, Marc. God’s Mailbox: More Stories about the Bible. Beech Tree. Goldin, Barbara Diamond. A Mountain of Blintzes. Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books. Handelman, Maxine Segal. Jewish Everyday: The Complete Handbook for Early Childhood Teachers. A.R.E. Publishing. The 11th Commandment: Wisdom from Our Children by the Children of America. Jewish Lights Publishing. Nerlove, Miriam. The Ten Commandments for Jewish Children. Albert Whitman & Company. Parker, Victoria. Moses and the Ten Commandments. Southwater. Pingry, Patricia A. Story of the Ten Commandments/La Historia de los Diez Mandiamentos. Ideals Children’s Books. Rock, Lois. The 10 Commandments: Words of Wisdom from the Bible. Paulist Press. Rock, Lois, and Liz Pichon. The Ten Commandments for Children. Lion Children’s Books. Rouss, Sylvia A. No Rules for Michael. Kar-Ben Publishing. Rouss, Sylvia A. Sammy Spider’s First Shavuot. Kar-Ben Publishing. Topek, Susan Remeck. Ten Good Rules: A Counting Book. Kar-Ben Publishing. Yaxley, Trevor. The Ten Commandments Movie Puzzle Book (Epic Stories of the Bible). CrossStaff Publishers.