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Bedtime Rituals



Kislev 5771   [email protected]   

Written by Nechama Retting, Director of Education for Shlock Rock


Welcome to Shlock Rock Educator’s Newsletter Volume 23. Our goal is to give you some new ideas for teaching about Mitzvot & Middot, Torah, Israel and the Holidays. Visit our website at, click on Educators Corner to view our back issues.


Adult Learning: Last month we talked about morning rituals so this month we will learn about bedtime rituals. This is a great time to have a Pajama Party and teach the Shema to your students. This could also be done as an evening community activity with parents as well or it could be a combined with a Rosh Chodesh celebration too. Many children fear going to sleep at night and Judaism has wonderful prayers that we can recite before going to sleep, that can help eliminate those concerns. Our goals are to, “V’shinantam l’vanecha”, teach our children the importance of talking to God and saying the Shema and other prayers as part of our tradition, and bedtime rituals.  Jewish children (and adults) all over the world say the same prayers we say! How cool is that?


Suggested Shlock Rock Songs: "Shema"  from Shlock Rock for Kids Vol. 1, "Three times a Day" and "Everybody Say Amen" from Shlock Rock for Kids Party Time!, "Sara Rothstein" (Adon Olam) from Shlock Rock for Kids Sing Together or  "Baruch Hagever" and "Hashem in One"  from GH 2, "Prayer Jumping" from Shlock Rock Meets the Prophets,   "Turn to God"  from God Sent Us Email, "Blessed is God" from Lenny and the Shlockers, and "B'yado" from Songs of the Morning. To hear the songs, click the above links or here:  kids songs ,  original songs,  parody songs and Hebrew songs  then click on the CD, then the song you want to hear. You can download songs to your computer or MP3 player and burn a CD for only $.99-$1.25 per song just click HERE. Check out Shlock Rock’s CD: Shlock Rock – Shabbat in Liverpool and Shlock Rock No Limits available here. 


Suggested Activities to try with your students or family:


Click these links for ideas related to teaching about Chanukah or Tzedakah.


Israel Connection: Help create more connections to Israel by pointing out that the sun and moon that we see in the sky are also shining on Israel too! As we get ready for bed, the children in Israel are waking up for a new day. When we say Shema before bed, the children in Israel are saying Modeh Ani and the Shema as they get up! We are all one big family!


Program: As mentioned above, have a school wide or community wide event based around the Shema, and getting ready for bed. This could be a Pizza Pajama Party where families come to the program in their PJ’s (at least the kids, anyway!), enjoy some pizza, songs, crafts and story telling all based on learning about Jewish night time rituals. Ask families to share their bedtime rituals (bath, book, snuggles and bed or whatever they do together to prepare).  Talk about where the Shema comes from (Devarim 6:4-9). The Shema is like our Pledge of Allegiance to Hashem! By saying the Shema we are keeping our promise (the Covenant) with Hashem to carry on our traditions. Our traditions connect us to each other all over the world!


Activity: Have the children decorate pillow cases or small pillows for bedtime using fabric paints or fabric markers. You could also use sponges or stencils of moons and stars too. Write the word “Shema” on the pillow as a reminder to say the prayer before bed. Here is a link for preprinted pillow cases that are $5.50 a piece.

You could also make a wall plaque with the Shema written out in Hebrew, English and Transliteration ( - please note this version is the Ashkenazi pronunciation. I was not able to edit this link and have it work, you may need to cut and paste the link into your browser to make it work.).  Have the children decorate frames (these could be picture mats available at most craft stores) with any medium you decide (glitter, stickers, paint, etc…) to go around the prayer to hang on their bedroom wall or over their bed. 


Books: The Perfect Prayer by Donald Rossoff, The Bedtime Shema by Sarah Gershman, The Treasury of Jewish Bedtime Stories or Bedtime Stories of Jewish Values by Shmuel Blitz, or check out these bedtime stories or "Jewish Bed time Stories".  Also check out The PJ Library as a resource for families in your community to receive books for free (or a small donation). 


Story: Based on Midrash: When Yaakov was in Egypt and was near the end of his life, he gathered his children around him to bless them before he died. He told his children that he was afraid. His children responded, “Abba, don’t be afraid, because Hashem is always with us!” Yaakov said: “I am not afraid to die, I am afraid to leave all of you in Egypt, a place of Idol worshipers.” His children responded with: “Shema Yisrael, Hashem El-haynu, Hashem ECHAD!!” (Hear Yisrael, Hashem is our G-d, Hashem is ONE! This meant that Yaakov should not be afraid because his children all knew that Hashem is ONE!) Yaakov responded (quietly since he was very old and sickly) “Baruch Shem kavod malchuto l’olam va’ed.” (Blessed be God’s name forever). This is a nice story to tell on your floor map of Israel even though the story took place in Egypt. Yaakov also told his children that when they returned to Israel, to take him with them and to bury him in Israel.


Science: There is nothing quite like a snack before bed! J This is a great time to bake some Oatmeal Cookies to enjoy with a glass of milk to soothe us off to sleep! If you have a Family Ed Program, serve up some of these yummy cookies!


Discussion: Children are often afraid of the dark or of going to sleep. This is a great time to discuss those fears and try and soothe them. One of the prayers we say before going to sleep asks Hashem to “give us pleasant dreams and to awaken us to the light of a new day, since it is God’s light that allows us to see.” Additionally, there is a prayer that talks about being surrounded by angels as protection, Michael on our right, Gavriel on our left and Uriel before us, Raphael behind us and Hashem above us. We are being hugged from all directions in warmth and safety! We also say Adon Olam. The last paragraph of this prayer says: Hashem is always with us so we should not be afraid - "B'yado  afkeed ruchi b'ace eeshan v'aeerah v'im ruchi giviati Hashem li v'lo eerah.” Shlock Rock’s version is so much fun to hear that you will never be afraid again! J Knowing Hashem is always watching over us can be a very comforting concept for children as they drift off to sleep.


Project: When my son was little and going through a particularly difficult time being afraid at bedtime, I took a spray bottle with water and a few drops of scented oil which I called “Bad Dreams Go Away” (patent pendingJ) that I sprayed around his room while I sang the last lines of Adon Olam (B’yado).  For whatever reason, it worked like a charm! It became a family tradition for my younger children too! J For the record, my son turns 18 during Kislev!


Discussion: This is an excellent time to talk to your children and their families about talking to Hashem. Your words can be in whatever language is comfortable for you! Rote prayer is a beautiful thing, but prayers from the heart have a direct line to Hashem. Communication is the way to go! Let’s help our children establish a relationship with Hashem even if some of us are not comfortable doing it for ourselves. This is another way of helping children feel comfort before bed, they can tell all their worries, hopes and dreams to Hashem. By the way, teachers and parents, you can do it too!!!!! J











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