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ten by Nechama Retting, Director of Education for Shlock Rock

Welcome to Shlock Rock Educator’s Newsletter Volume 10. Our goal is to give you some new ideas for teaching about Mitzvot & Middot, Torah, Israel and the Holidays. Visit our website at

Adult Information: This month we will explore ideas related to the High Holidays and relationships Bain Adam L'Chavero (between people and friends). The Hebrew month of Elul which precedes Rosh Hashanah, is a great time for self reflection; a time for Teshuvah – returning to Hashem and repentance, Tefillah – prayer and Tzedakah – acts of righteousness or charity. These are very important concepts for all of us; in preschool and beyond! This is also a great time of year to connect or reconnect with your community. Teshuvah, Tefillah and Tzedakah, I like to refer to them as the 3-T’s, but there is also an additional “T” to add to the list: Tashlich – meaning to cast off. Tashlich is a ritual done on the afternoon of the first day of Rosh Hashanah (unless it falls on Shabbat, then it is done on the second day) at a body of water. We bring bread crumbs and “cast off our sins into the depths of the sea.” (See Micah 7:18-20). This is a wonderful community building event to do with families of all ages! Let’s make this New Year sweet, not just with apples and honey, but with our actions between people too!!

Recommended SHLOCK ROCK songs:

“Bain Adam L’Chavero” “Tzedakah Song”, “3 Times a Day” and “Shana Tova” from Shlock Rock for Kids Party Time, “There are 12 Months” and “Skip to the Lake” from Shlock Rock for Kids Volume 1, “Shimmy’s New Horn” from Shlock Rock For kids Sing Together and “Everyone I meet”, “Aseret Yemay Teshuvah” and “Apples and Honey” from Shlock Rock for Kids Volume 3, “Holy Days” from Learning is Good, “T’shuvah” from Shlock Rock Greatest Hits 2, “Yonah and the Whale” from Shlock Rock Meets the Prophets, “Turn to G-d” From G-d Sent Us Email, “Tekia” from Shlock Rock Almost Broadway, and “Osher V’Osher” from the CD Osher V’Osher. To hear the songs, click here then click on the CD, then the song you want to hear. You can download songs to your computer or IPod for only $.99-$1.25 per song just click here! Oye, such a bargain!

Suggested Activities to try with your students or family:

Activities: We will be teaching our children about Teshuvah, Tefillah and Tzedakah at the beginning of school, leading up to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Circle time is a great time to incorporate some of the 3 T’s! Here are some ways to add them to your daily circle time, not just for the holidays.

• Ask parents to send in a few coins for Tzedakah each day with their children. (You could even have the kids create a tzedakah bag to hang on their backpacks for a visual reminder!)

• Add some Tefillot to your daily circle time. Examples: Modeh/Modah Ani, Shema and Ma Tovu. Also it would be a great time to learn the appropriate brachot on different foods. If you already do all these things (pat yourself on the back!), that’s awesome!! Do you also bentch (say Birkat Hamazon) after lunch or Challah for Shabbat? There is always something new to add as we teach the future generation to live “Jewishly!”  If you already do all of these thing, then see the next bullet point!

• Talking to Hashem is a great way to do Teshuvah – return to G-d and Tefillah all in one! (See the song Three times a Day for inspiration!) We should try to set good examples, and teach our children to have a relationship with Hashem. Make up some of your own prayers to talk to Hashem and say thank you each day. This is called Hitbodedut, or personal prayer. Even if you just say: “Wow, thanks G-d! I am so glad all our friends are in school with us today!” To quote a Shlock Rock song: "100 Amens every single day; then you know you’re on your way!”

Circle time is also a great time to teach the months of the year in Hebrew. “There are 12 Months” is an easy fun song to learn the Hebrew months.

Additionally, you could have one of your classroom jobs be the Rodef Shalom (peace maker), someone who can help students work out their “issues” bain Adam L’Chavero (between friends). Eventually as the children get more familiar with the song, all you have to do when you see an argument starting, is sing: “Ha-ha-ha Ho-ho Bain Adam L’Chavero, Ha-ha-ha Hee-hee, I treat everyone nicely!”

It is also helpful to create a Chesed Corner (Kindness Corner), a special place where the children can go to discuss their problems with chesed. The first Kohain (high priest in the Holy Temple) was Moshe’s brother, Aharon. Aharon always pursued peace. There is a nice story about Aharon in the Conservative Movement’s publication called "The Vision" by Maxine Handelman, the story is found on page 22.

It says in Ethics of our Sages:

Aharon loved peace and pursued it; loved people and drew them close to the Torah. (Avot 1:12).

There are also many biblical examples of positive relationships Bain Adam L’Chavero. Check out the book Morah, Morah Teach Me Torah from Torah Aura Publishing for a complete parsha book for Preschool and Early Elementary School aged children.

Project: Create items (shofar, honey pots, holiday cards, round challah covers, Pushkes, etc…) for the holidays using recycled materials. Check out for ideas from the book Green Chagim. Make holiday cards to give to a local nursing home to brighten the day of the residents. Can you plan a field trip to deliver them in person?? (See the recipe below if you plan to deliver your cards in person!! Just please make sure to check with the nursing home about Kashrut and other dietary restrictions before bringing in any food.)

Activity: Practice doing Tashlich with your children. This can be done a few ways. Make sure to listen to "Skip to the Lake" while practicing! 

1) Use a piece of blue felt or a blue sheet (the water), add some plastic fish and then use pom-poms to represent the bread crumbs. Have the children brain storm things they are sorry for and ways they would like to improve in the New Year, then chart them on the wall in your room for future reference.

Example: “I am sorry I didn’t share the last cookie with my sister and that made her cry. Next time, I will ask my mom to cut the cookie in half so we can both enjoy the cookie!”

2) Use a baby pool with water and plastic fish and bread crumbs to practice with. If you use something else for bread crumbs make sure to clean them out of the pool before dumping out the water. Can the water be used after practicingTashlich to benefit an outdoor garden?

3) Create a Tashlich community event at a neighborhood lake or pond (or stream). It is a wonderful way to get everyone to "Turn to God" together! Wouldn’t it be nice to invite another shul to join you?? That’s the mitzvah of Hachnasat Orchim!

Books: Even Higher! by I. L. Peretz and Eric Kimmel, When the Chickens went on Strike by Erica Silverman – this is a very cute story about Kapparot, A New Year at the Pier by April Halprin Wayland, this is a new Tashlich story, The Hardest Word by Jacqueline Jules, Holidays Around the World – Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by Deborah Heiligman – this is not really a book to read to the children, but shows how the holidays are celebrated around the world, How the Rosh Hashanah Challah Became Round by Sylvia B. Epstein and Hagit Migron. Click here for more titles for Rosh Hashanah. Jonah and the Whale is also appropriate for Yom Kippur.

Israel: Check out the Israel Agency’s website for other ideas related to the High Holidays by clicking here. Learn about Pomegranates! Did you know that there are 613 seeds inside a Rimon (pomegranate) to correspond to the 613 mitzvot in the Torah? Cool!! In Israel pomegranates are ripe for Rosh Hashanah and are one of the 7 Species! The USA has apples, in Israel it is all about Pomegranates!

Cooking/Science: Make Apples and Honey cake.

2 cups flour
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
¾ cup honey
½ cup oil
2 eggs

1 tsp baking powder dissolved in ½ cup orange juice -this is the science

Fun! Show the children how the baking powder and OJ react together!

1 tsp vanilla
2 apples, sliced thinly


¼ cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup chopped nuts (optional – check with your school regarding allergies!)

Combine all ingredients (except the additional cinnamon and sugar/ nuts) in a bowl. Mix well. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pour half of the batter in a pan (sprayed with Pam or greased), put a layer of apples over the batter. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar and optional nuts on top of the apples. Next pour the remaining batter into the pan, and layer with the remaining apples and cinnamon sugar and optional nuts. Bake for one hour. Cake will rise as it bakes so make sure there is enough room in the pan. These can also be made as cupcakes but bake them for 15-20 minutes instead.

Feel free to share with friends!!

Movement: Get up and dance with your children. T'shuvah from Shlock Rock’s CD Greatest Hits 1 (GH1) is a great song to dance to!!

Game/Activity: We are supposed to listen to the shofar each day (except for Shabbat) during the month of Elul to help us to wake up and do Teshuvah. Make this part of your daily routine; blow the shofar before you start circle time. You can also play a game where the different blasts from the Shofar represent different Gross motor movement activities. (Example: Tekia = stand up, Teruah = 3 knee bends, Shevarim = 9 hand claps and Tekia Gadolah = jump up and down.)

Game: Play a matching game using various Rosh Hashanah symbols.

Create 2 sets printed on card stock and laminate for durability. You can also recycle your holiday greeting cards to make lace-ups for a fine motor activity.


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