May 17, 2010

Books Bring Shavuot into Your Home

This year, the holiday of Shavuot is May 19 and 20. Also known as the Festival of Weeks, Shavuot falls seven weeks after Passover and marks the day when God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses and the Israelites.

Erev Shavuot (the night of May 18) is traditionally a night of study, when observant groups gather to read and discuss Torah. Since this isn't a realistic practice for families with young children (and early bedtimes!), why not add a Shavuot book to your regular bedtime story rotation? It's a wonderful way to share this special holiday with young readers.

For many children, preschool is a time for learning rules and understanding why they exist. In No Rules for Michael, a little boy wishes there were no rules, and the results aren't exactly what he wanted.

With 50 carefully chosen words and photographs of preschoolers acting out the Ten Commandments, Ten Good Rules introduces young children to the fundamental rules while teaching them to count from one to ten. The commandments have been recast in positive child-friendly language to make them easier for children to understand.

It is said that the words of the Torah are as sweet as milk and honey, so it is traditional to eat dairy foods, such as blintzes or cheesecake, to celebrate Shavuot. In Sammy Spider's First Shavuot, preschoolers learn along with Sammy about following steps in recipes. Here's a recipe for blintzes using ingredients that are probably already in your kitchen!

Mrs. Shapiro's Blintz Recipe
Adapted from Sammy Spider's First Shavuot

1 cup flour
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
2 tsp neutral flavored oil such as canola

Mix flour, eggs, and milk together. Heat oil in frying pan over medium-high heat. When heated, drop spoonful of batter and tilt the pan to coat. When lightly browned, flip over to cook briefly. Remove from pan and stack pancakes between paper towels.

1lb small curd cottage cheese, drained
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar

Mix filling ingredients. Place a spoonful in the center of each blintz. Tuck in sides and roll. Place blintzes in buttered baking dish and bake at 375 degrees for 30 mins.

May 10, 2010

A Seder for the Troops, Part II

To follow up with a previous post, Rabbi Josh Sherwin sent us photos of his seders in Afghanistan. Twenty-five soldiers, Marines, and sailors participated in the first seder, and twelve participated in his second seder at a different base. Thank you, Rabbi Sherwin, for sharing the photos with us!

Rabbi Sherwin writes, "Kar-Ben Haggadot helped to greatly enhance our experience and celebration, providing us with many good English readings, songs, and transliterations to make our Seder meaningful."

All photos appear courtesy of Rabbi Josh Sherwin.

May 3, 2010

Enrich Your Reading Experience with an Author Event

Kar-Ben authors visits schools and book fairs across the country. Students get the opportunity to meet the author and ask them about their books and writing careers. Authors meet their audience and are able to add value to the students' experience of reading their books. It's a rewarding experience for all!

Here's a clip of a school visit by Stacia Deutsch, author of Hot Pursuit. If you're interested in having Stacia or any Kar-Ben author visit your school or book fair, email for more information.