Mar 16, 2016

The Story Behind This Hamantaschen Story!

Laura Aron Milhander is the author of Kar-Ben's newest Purim story, Not for All the Hamantaschen in Town. In Not for All the Hamantaschen in Town, the Three Little Pigs- Rishon, Sheni, and Shlishi - are getting ready for the Purim carnival. They can't wait to play games, eat hamantaschen, and march in the Purim parade. But they all need crowns for their Purim costumes. Rishon makes his paper crown very quickly. Sheni spends a little more time on his poster board crown. Slishi works hardest and longest on his wonderful papier mache crown. But will their fun at the carnival be spoiled by the big bad wolf? After all, wolves love hamantaschen, too!

Read Laura's guest post all about hamantaschen below, and then check out her book over on the Kar-Ben website!

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"Hamantaschen! Also called oznei haman, they deliciously link our diverse population of Jews, and just as our people are diverse, so are our hamantaschen.

There are hamantaschen made with cookie dough, yeast dough, honey dough, cream cheese dough, sour cream dough… Hamantaschen with the tried-and-true prune or poppy seed filling, apricot or raspberry filling… Hamantaschen with chocolate filling, chocolate hamantaschen with peanut butter filling… Girl Scout Cookie-inspired hamantaschen… Parve hamantaschen, dairy hamantaschen, even meat-filled hamantaschen… Palm-sized hamantaschen and single-bite hamantaschen… Hamantaschen recipes from professional cookbooks and temple sisterhood cookbooks, and from a multitude of websites… I can produce a hamantaschen resume that goes back decades. While I won’t be making “all the hamantaschen in town,” I’ll certainly be making enough for my family and for the shalach manot my children give their teachers (religious school and secular). But what kind of hamantaschen? Do you have a favorite recipe you stick to year after year, or do you browse online sites for new and unique challenges?

We Jews aren’t the only ones who loves hamantaschen, however. In Not for All the Hamantaschen in Town, there is a hungry wolf who has a craving for the Purim pastries, too, and he will do just about anything to get them, including huffing-and-puffing the crowns off three little pigs’ heads. I had the idea for writing Not for All the Hamantaschen in Town after reading my children a secular retelling of another fairy tale. Retellings are popular and frequently offer their readers insights into other cultures and traditions, and I wanted to create one with my own Jewish twist. Weaving Jewish holiday celebrations into familiar fairy tales would be something special to offer Jewish families, giving our children the chance to see well-known characters observing our holidays and learning valuable lessons as well. There is even a delectable hamantaschen recipe at the end of the story!

What recipe will you make? I have come full circle to find that my favorite hamantaschen are the traditional ones: A simple, sweet dough filled with poppy seed and apricot fillings. I may continue to try the latest recipes from year to year (taco hamantaschen, ├ęclair hamantaschen), but making hamantaschen like the ones our ancestors made and enjoyed as they, too, celebrated Purim really hits the spot.

I hope you have a Chag Purim Sameach!"

Mar 10, 2016

Perfect Purim Crafts for 2016!

Purim is a wonderful holiday to celebrate with children. Costumes, groggers, and hamantaschen afford many opportunities for creativity, imagination, and fun. Below we have some fun takes on these traditional activities, as well as some new crafts to celebrate at home or in the classroom!

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.

From www.Lookstein.org.

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.

From Quia.com.

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!

Not for All the Hamantaschen in Town

The Three Little Pigs - Rishon, Sheni, and Shlishi - are getting ready for the Purim carnival. But they all need crowns for their Purim costumes. Rishon makes his paper crown very quickly. Sheni spends a little more time on his poster board crown. Slishi works hardest and longest on his wonderful papier mache crown. But will their fun at the carnival be spoiled by the big bad wolf? After all, wolves love hamantaschen, too!

Barnyard Purim
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.