Thursday, 28 February 2013

Ki Tisa- Smelling Good and Smelling Trouble...

Last week, shortly before Shabbat, we did another parasha project. The last aliyah of Tetzaveh describes the construction of the incense alter but the first aliyah of Ki Tisa describes the incense itself so I will share it for this week.
To give everyone an experience of "Reyach Nichoach", a pleasing aroma, I planned to make stewed apples in cinnamon and cloves for Shabbat dessert. It is one of the best cooking smells! But I realized that although I love the smell and taste of these two spices, my girls might not.

I set the girls free in my extensive spice cupboard, telling them to each choose their favorite and I would cook the apples with their selections. They loved opening each container and smelling, sometimes marveling and sometimes complaining at the scent. Gabi eventually chose cinnamon, saying that is how apples should smell. Initially Cohava chose star anise, loving the shape and smell. But then she found a more intriguing aroma; Ras El Hanout. This Moroccan blend of spices contains some lovely spices like ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon. It also contains some flavors Cohava does not like, such as kashmiri chili and cayenne pepper. We used it.

The smell was wonderful! But the flavor... Cohava was insistent that it was Gabi's fault and that the cinnamon had made the apples spicy.

The Torah's description of the incense used for sacrifice also prohibits one from trying to mimic the scent. I want to make it clear that this was not the objective of the project. Hashem, don't cut me off from my people for this.  Because sacrifices are such a difficult topic to appreciate today, I wanted my girls to see how a pleasant smell can be enjoyed by all. I like their use of the senses of smell and taste. But this was not at effort at Ketoret!

[There are many people who ask me how I have time for these projects and blog. I don't. But I try. While the girls were busy in the spice cupboard and I was cleaning the kitchen, Ruti sneaked out of the kitchen with a big box of breakfast cereal. When we were finished, we discovered that Ruti had upturned the entire box, all over the dining room floor! With 30 minutes to candle lighting, Cohava learned how to use the vacuum cleaner. We make it work.]

The parasha continues with the designation of Betzalel and Oholiab as the overseeing craftsman for the construction of the mishkan. The girls enjoyed telling me who are the best artists in their class. Then Shabbat and then...

"Oh no!" Gabi yelled out, as I was telling them the story.
"What is wrong?" I asked.
"Moshe isn't back yet and the people are going to do something awful!" she exclaimed. She curled up in a ball of fear and anticipation.
"They are going to make the egel idol!" Cohava announced.
""How do you know? Did Abba already tell you?" I asked.
"No. I remember from last year. It is the worstest thing bnei yisrael ever does..." Cohava explained.

And now I must think of a project that does not glorify the egel hazahav, doesn't scare Gabi, and celebrates Hashem's mercy.


Shabbat Shalom

Friday, 22 February 2013

Purim Costumes

I love Purim! The numerous joyous ways to celebrate another Jewish victory, coupled with the kid-friendly components make this one of my favorite chagim. But truth be told, my favorite part has nothing to do with the mitzvot of the day.

The mitzvot are:
Matanot l'evyonim = Charity to the poor
Mishloach manot = food baskets to friends
Megillah = hearing the Book of Esther read
Seudah = a festive meal

That is all. The mitzvot of the day do not include getting completely inebriated, apposed to popular belief. They also do not include COSTUMES! :(

A few weeks ago my husband looked up from the book he was learning and said, "I don't want you to cry, but..." And proceeded to read a teshuva on how Moroccans do not wear costumes for Purim and look down on the practice. To which I calmly explained that I agreed to be Sephardi, but never Moroccan.

And so I asked the girls what they thought we should dress up as.  I am a big believer in a group costume. The year my husband and I were engaged I sewed us costumes to be The Incredibles. When Cohava was a baby we were sun, moon, and star (Cohav means star). And so on. Last year Cohava and Gabi both wanted to be butterflies so we went as The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

But this year, I said, "Ok, girls, IYH, this will be the last year we will be a family of five. What should the five of us be?"
"I know five!" Cohava cheered. "Five are the books of the Torah!"
And so our costume idea was found. Gabi wanted to be Beresheet and Cohava Shemot (by default I took Vayikra, Ben Bamidbar, and Ruti Devarim). The girls sat down with their Parasha books to decide which images they wanted to include.
Once they had made a list, I went to work on Google, trying to find images to match their requests. It proved more challenging than I anticipated.

At K-mart I bought white T-shirts for the family and at Office Works I bought iron-on transfers.
For various reasons the iron-on transfers were disastrous. Plan B, involved printing the images on large Avery  labels.

This was much more successful.

The stickers will go all over the white shirt of the appropriate sefer. From paper mache clay I made everyone a 'yad' necklace and painted them silver.

 And a keter Torah for everyone's head. The name of their sefer will be on the keter.

I won't let anyone put on the costumes until Purim because I don't want them getting messed up!

So everyone wore something else for today's "Taste of Purim" at school.

Bli neder, on Purim I will upload a picture of the Chamisha Chumshei Torah.

This is last year's group shot of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Purim Sameach!!!

Here are the chamesha chumshei Torah!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Dressing up like in the Old Days-Tetzaveh

Parashat Tetzaveh starts with the commandment to use pure olive oil in the menorah. The rest of the parasha is a detailed account of the clothes of the Kohanim and Kohen Gadol.

The oil the girls know well from Channukah. The clothes of the Kohen led to an interesting discussion.
"Were only boys allowed to be Kohanim?" Cohava asked.
"But that's not fair," Gabi replied. This was surprising because the girls have never before mentioned gender distinctions. I contemplated describing korbanot to make them thankful it was a job they could never have, but decided against it.
"Could I be a rabbi?" I asked them. I was curious what they knew about this topic.
"No. But you are married to Abba and he is a rabbi," Gabi explained.
"And that makes you a rabbanit, not a rabbi," Cohava continued.
"Do I have special jobs then?" I asked.
"Yes, you teach and stuff."
"Then maybe there are Kohanits," Gabi suggested.
"Maybe," I agreed.

To celebrate the clothes of the Kohen, I decided to make paperdolls. A quick google search proved that I did not have to recreate the wheel. The Kohen could be found here. And the clothes here.
I printed the images and the girls got to work.

But they were confused by the idea of paperdolls. I was saddened to realize there isn't much room for paperdolls in the world of ipads. My feeling old in response to their reactions was compounded by Cohava's reader for the day. It was called "The Old Things" and described 'obsolete' items like inkwells - and cameras which use film.

 Whether paperdolls and film are items of yesteryear, the Torah is always relevant. I hope that is what my girls are learning from the parasha projects.

Shabbat Shalom!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Mishkan Making- Terumah

Great excitement and plot development in Parashat Terumah? No. Definately not.
Clear instructions for very holy construction work? Yes.
Straightforward project for my girls? Definitely.

The girls suggested various means of making the Miskan (surprisingly, none of them involved my jewelry).
We decided on clay.

We mixed
3 cups of flour
1 cup of salt
1 cup of water
food dye
glitter paint

And then mushed it all together.

Time to build the Mishkan!

Cohava decided to build the Aron. She discovered making a solid square was too hard, so she took a strawberry punnet and covered it in clay.

 Gabi made the Menora. Apparently her version has a few extra branches.
 And they started the Shulchan.
But Cohava did not yet get to finish the Keruvim on top of her Aron.

But Gabi began to assemble the Mishkan and brought members of Bnei Yisrael inside.
"But!" Gabi reminded me sternly, "No one except the Kohen Gadol can go into the Kodesh HaKedoshim, and only on Ruti's birthday."

Shabbat Shalom!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Bowled Over by Mishpatim

Let's be honest. Parashat Mishpatim is pretty dull, especially when compared with Matan Torah in last week's parasha. I struggled to make it relevant and interesting for the girls, but there is not much to be done with the laws of Jewish slaves or the behavior of an ox.

Some parts are very relevant to children, such as not telling lies and the prohibition of hitting one's parents.

Still, I was stuck for a project.  Then Gabi had occupational therapy and the therapist recommended bowling for gross motor and coordination. I saw a project that kills two birds with one stone (or ball).

Bowling Pins of Averot!

On the computer I found images to reflect some of the prohibitions in Mishpatim. I added text for literacy and printed them out.

After printing these, I found six empty bottles in the recycling bin.
I gave the girls the pictures and we had a long talk about them and why we 'push down' averot. ( I am waiting for them to see someone with a  bar in their ear and ask if they are a slave. hee hee)

Then the girls got the tape and assembled their new bowling pins.

Minutes later it was time to test them out.

Shabbat Shalom!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Yummy Yitro

Parashat Yitro has two main parts; Yitro's role within the Jewish people and the giving of the Aseret Hadibrot [the Ten "Commandments"].

Although Yitro's modification of the court system and conversion to Judaism are noteworthly, the big deal is the receiving of the Luchot Habrit.

I wanted to do a project of making large 'tablets' with lift the flaps so that under the letter or words, there would be an image of it so the girls could better learn what is actually in the Aseret Hadibrot. But I couldn't find any appropriate image on adultry and I ran out of time with the busy back to school week. :(

Cohava came home from school with a cute and easy parasha project. There were the first ten letters of the alef bet printed out. The children cut them out and glued them in order on the fingers of disposable gloves. Great activity. The letters fell off of her gloves, so she hand wrote them on at home.

Then we got to work on a Har Sinai cake.

Truth be told, most of the work on it was mine. So I let the girls have free reign of making luchot biscuits.

Shabbat Shalom!!!