Apr 23, 2015
How will you and your family celebrate Israel this year? We have a few recommendations below!
Crafts and Activities
Check out our list of activities to learn about and celebrate Israel at home and in the classroom. Great for any time of year, they particularly come in handy today!
The Celebrate Israel Parade
The annual Celebrate Israel Parade, begun in 1964, is held every spring in the heart of New York City. Over thirty thousand marchers stroll up Fifth Avenue. The parade showcases groups from elementary schools, high schools, yeshivot, synagogues, Jewish community centers, and many other Jewish institutions. Colorful floats, award winning marching bands, politicians, and entertainers also participate in the parade, showing their support for Israel. Tens of thousands of spectators cheer on the sidelines. The Celebrate Israel Parade is a colossal party, graciously hosted by New York City.
Sounds like fun, but can't make it to Manhattan? Enjoy the parade vicariously with our new fall title Meg Goldberg on Parade about a shy girl with a big imagination who finds plenty of ways to join in the fun - coming soon to bookstores near you!
Explore Israel Through Books!
We love to explore Israel through stories and illustrations, and we have many books dedicated to doing just that!
The "Nature in Israel" series by National Jewish Book Award-winning author Allison Ofanansky pairs holidays with celebrations unique to Israel's landscape and features beautiful full-color photographs. Titles include New Month, New Moon, Harvest of Light, What's the Buzz, and Sukkot Treasure Hunt.
Apr 16, 2015
This story is a work of imagination inspired by the street performers of the Lodz Ghetto. In the city of Lodz, as in Jewish communities throughout Europe, the Jews were rounded up and packed into a fenced section of Lodz, which became known as the Lodz Ghetto.
In 1940, the Lodz Ghetto, one of the largest ghettos in Europe, held 230,000 people. Six years later, in 1945, when the Soviet Army liberated the city, fewer than 1000 of Lodz’s Jewish community had survived the Nazi horrors.
Music was part of the life of the ghettos, helping to sustain the spirits of the Jewish community in those dark days. Street performers, including children, sang or played music in exchange for a coin, a bit of food, or often nothing at all. Like the Wren, these performers resisted the Nazis with their songs, offering a glimmer of a better world.
As in this story, some of the musical instruments played in the ghettos and concentration camps survived the Holocaust; most of their owners did not. But their music inspired both adults and children to believe that, even in the bleak world of the Shoah, beauty and hope for humanity still lived.
Apr 1, 2015
A Playful Passover Seder Kit
This eBook from TCJewfolk is full of crafts and activities for toddlers and preschoolers, from building a matzah house to coloring pages featuring seder plate items. The activities here will both entertain and educate this Passover!
A Passover Lesson Plan for 3rd & 4th Grade
These lesson plans, written by A Family Haggadah author Shoshana Silberman, focus on slavery in ancient Egypt and draw connections between ancient and modern slavery. An informative unit for older students.
Create a Beautiful Elijah's Cup
Elijah's cup is an important part of the Passover seder. This craft from The Shiksa in the Kitchen is great for older children, or young children with some adult assistance. Instructions here.
A Handmade Matzah Cover
Matzah is a ubiquitous part of every seder - and now it can have its very own unique cover! We like this matzah cover because it holds three pieces of matzah, each one in its own pocket. This craft is perfect for classrooms or at home. Instructions here.
From Highlights Kids.
Tell the story of Passover in a fun and interactive way using these Passover finger puppets! Kids can color and cut out these finger puppets to put their own unique touch on the Passover tale. Template here.
From Ann D. Koffsky.
A Plague of Frogs
It has been decided - the plague of frogs is certainly the one to illustrate through crafts. Over at Creative Jewish Mom you can fold origami frogs (great for classrooms of older students) or make these little critters from pom-poms and pipe cleaners.
Make Your Own Seder Placemat
These seder placemats are a sweet handmade touch to a seder table, and reinforce the significance of each item on the seder plate. Instructions here.
Create a 3-D Moses
With a template and a toilet paper roll, make a 3-D figure of Moses for storytelling or as a decoration for the classroom or seder table.
Mar 26, 2015
You can also read another guest post about creating joyful Passover traditions from author Laura Gehl, or check out these reviews of this year's newest Passover stories in The Times of Israel!
|postcard of Jaffa station in the Ottoman period|
In each of my Engineer Ari books, I try to focus on one historical element of Jaffa & Jerusalem railway. The Rosh Hashana Ride recreates the railway’s celebratory opening in 1892 during the period of the Ottoman Turks. In The Sukkah Express, Engineer Ari and his friends build a sukkah with the leftover supplies from the 2-year-old project of building of the railway. The Hanukkah Mishap revolves around a reoccurring problem – camels that sat on rails.
In The Passover Rush, I chose to focus on how the Jaffa & Jerusalem Railway changed how “time” was treated in the land of Israel. Before the coming of the railway, time’s passage was marked primarily by Muslim calls to worship. But, with the opening of the Jaffa & Jerusalem Railway, the European clock became predominant. Muslim prayer times were even standardized to fit within the structure of railway time. Time, which had been meandering and organic, now was subject to deadlines and the need to rush.
Deborah Bodin Cohen
Mar 23, 2015
Gehl is the author of And Then Another
Sheep Turned Up and Hare and Tortoise
Race Across Israel. Her other books include One Big Pair of Underwear and the Peep and Egg series (hatching spring 2016). Laura also writes about science for children
and adults. She lives with her husband
and four children in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Read more about Laura and her books at www.lauragehl.com. Get And Then Another Sheep Turned Up, plus Haggadahs and more at www.karben.com!
Laura Gehl is the author of And Then Another Sheep Turned Up and Hare and Tortoise Race
Across Israel. Her other books include One Big Pair of Underwear and the Peep and Egg series (hatching spring 2016). Laura also writes about science for children and adults. She lives with her husband and four children in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Read more about Laura and her books at www.lauragehl.com.
Get And Then Another Sheep Turned Up, plus Haggadahs and more at www.karben.com!
Feb 27, 2015
Make Some Noise with Sammy Spider
This simple grogger is made using a paper plate, and is the same one in one of our favorite Purim books - Sammy Spider's First Purim! Get ready for the Megillah reading with this fun and easy craft for all ages. Instructions here.
Send a Hamantaschen Card
This cute cards fold up to look like hamantaschen, and unfold to reveal well-wishes for Purim! This simple craft, which requires paper, scissors, and markers, is great for at home or in the classroom. Find instructions here.
Jewish Heroes Project
Discuss the heroes of the Purim story. Students select and research their own Jewish hero, notable for his/her impact on Jewish/greater society. On Purim, organize a "living museum": students dress up as their heroes. The students should be able to give basic biographical information about their hero, in addition to discussing their impact. Each student has to interview another hero (hint: use the 5 W's to focus the students). Publish/hang up hero interviews. More educational ideas here.
Easy Purim Masks Complement Any Costume
With a little help, any kid can create their own costume using this simple DIY Purim mask! A perfect Purim craft for the classroom, or to accent an almost-complete costume, this masks allows kids to add their own artistic flair. Instructions here.
From Here We Are Together.
Beaded Crowns for Older Kids
If you kids are a little old for paper masks, or would enjoy more of a challenge, try these beaded crowns! They'll also last longer than paper masks, so could potentially be used in years to come. Different colors of beads can be used to complement different costumes, and instructions include both a "Queen's Crown" and a "King's Crown." Instructions here.
From Chadis Crafts Fun Pages.
Put on a Purim Puppet Show
Make your own puppets to put on a Purim play! These instructions and templates from JewishKids.org make it a fun and simple way to let everyone participate in telling the story of Purim. Instructions here.
Test How Much You Really Know!
This fun and interactive Jeopardy-style quiz lets two people compete to answer Purim questions. Test your knowledge on your own, challenge a friend, or set up a family or classroom-sized competition to see who knows the most! Take the quiz here.
Make Your Own Megillah Scroll
Color the pictures on this page, then cut them out into two strips. Tape the strips together and tape the end to an empty paper towel roll cut to size. Roll up your Megillah and fasten with a ribbon or rubber band. Now you have your very own Megillah scroll that tells the story of Purim!
Learn More About Purim with a Good Book!
Children's books about Purim are a great way to enrich the holiday celebration. From learning all about Purim traditions with Sammy Spider to animals putting on a Purim play, these stories offer fun and interesting additions to any Purim celebration. These and other Purim books available on the Kar-Ben website!
Purim is a topsy-turvy time, even on the farm. The animals decide to stage a Purim play, and Chicken assigns the parts. Blushing Duck is Queen Esther, Silly Horse is Ahashuerus, and Bearded Goat is Mordechai. But when they try to transform Shy Little Sheep into mean-looking Haman, something unexpected happens.
Sammy Spider's First Purim
Sammy Spider wants to help Josh get ready for Purim. Instead, he gets stuck inside a grogger. How will he escape?
The Queen Who Saved Her People
The Purim story has never been more fun! This lavishly rhyming tale is a wonderful read-aloud book, and its color-coded dialogue is perfect for Reader's Theater performances.
The Purim Superhero
Nate loves aliens and he really wants to wear an alien costume for Purim, but his friends are all dressing as superheroes and he wants to fit in. What will he do? With the help of his two dads he makes a surprising decision.
Jan 23, 2015
David grows up and becomes a sofer just like his grandfather. Through the years, people bring him damaged Torahs they have saved from danger and disaster - one damaged by Nazi soldiers during World War II, one damaged in a fire in a synagogue, and one in flooding during Hurricane Katrina. David stores each of these precious Torahs in his cabinet, until his granddaughter Leah gives him the idea to make a recycled Torah from the salvaged Torah scrolls.
Below, watch the book trailer and read a guest post from author Allison Ofanansky about her inspiration for this very special story. You can get a copy of The Patchwork Torah here.
We'd also like to congratulate author Jennifer Elvgren and illustrator Fabio Santomauro on The Whispering Town, named as one of two finalists for the National Jewish Book Award! The Whispering Town is available here.