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A great multimedia way to learn the parsha, at Torah4Kids





February 2010, Shevat 5770   [email protected]   

Written by Nechama Retting, Director of Education for Shlock Rock


Welcome to Shlock Rock Educator’s Newsletter Volume 15. Our goal is to give you some new ideas for teaching about Mitzvot & Middot, Torah, Israel and the Holidays. Visit our website at


Adult Learning: This month we will explore ways to make Havdalah at home or in school. Havdalah is a ceremony which concludes Shabbat and begins a new week. Havdalah can be made Saturday night when it is dark; about 25 hours after the candles were lit for Shabbat or when 3 stars appear in the sky. The word Havdalah means separation.  Havdalah separates the holiness of Shabbat from the rest of the work week. Click here to learn to make Havdalah, you need: kosher wine or grape juice (and a Kiddush cup), Besamim, or sweet spices, as we want to hold on to the sweetness of Shabbat & have a sweet new week, and a Havdalah candle (braided candle with multiple wicks). There are blessings on all 3 items, and a blessing to say good bye to Shabbat, as we extinguish the candle’s flame into the wine and sing “Eliahu HaNavi”. We also sing songs that wish each other “Shavuah tov” - a good week. According to Halachach (Jewish law), Havdalah can be done anytime after sunset Saturday (after Shabbat ends) until Tuesday. So Sunday/Monday morning at school is a great time to make Havdalah with the children.


Recommended SHLOCK ROCK songs: “Havdalah” from the CD Shlock Rock for Kids Party Time, “Have you Ever?” from Shlock Rock for Kids – Volume 1, “Eliahu HaNavi” from Learning is Good, and “Havdalah” from the CD To Unite All Jews or GH1, “Eliahu” from the CD Jewish Pride.

To hear the songs, click these links:  kids songs  or all other songs then click on the CD, then the song you want to hear. You can download songs to your MP3 player or computer and burn a CD for only $.99-$1.25 per song just click HERE Check out Shlock Rock’s newest CD: Shlock Rock No Limits available here.  I love making my own personalized Shlock Rock CD’s by downloading Shlock Rock songs. I have a special CD with just Shabbat Songs, a CD with Havdalah songs and different CDs with Shlock Rock songs for each holiday. J

Suggested Activities to try with your students or family:


For Tu B’Shevat related activities click here.


Discussion:  Consider making Havdalah with your children each week so the children can experience another beautiful Jewish tradition, and can learn the brachot. As the Shlock Rock song says "It only takes a minute of your time."  After making Havdalah (See the link in Adult Learning to learn how to do it) with your children either Saturday night at home, or Sunday/Monday morning at school, have a discussion about what your children did over Shabbat or over the weekend. Did they spend time with their family?

One part of the Havdalah blessings speaks of the separation between the holy and the ordinary, the light and the dark, between the Jewish people and the rest of the nations. Talk about what makes Shabbat special, how does being Jewish make you feel special? Discuss the differences between the work/school week and a Shabbat of rest. On Shabbat how do you act differently, dress differently, and eat differently from the rest of the week? Etc… Write down their ideas.


I also have a custom in my home where we dip our pinkies into the wine (after Havdalah) and spread it on our temples (for brains), our pulse point on our neck (for health) and on our pockets (for money)! My kids LOVE this tradition!! We recently adopted a 2 year old dog and my kids started putting the Havdalah wine on his temples for brains too, since our dog, Einstein, is NOT living up to his name!  J


Activity: 1) Make Havdalah candles using 3 small candles either Chanukah candles, or thin, taper candles.  Place candles into warm/hot water until they begin to soften enough to be pliable. Take them out of the water and braid or twist them together.  Let the candles cool and harden again before use. Using a recycled top from a margarine container with an X cut into the center is a great way to hold the candle without having the wax drip onto your hands.

You can also make a Havdalah candle by taking several sheets of bees wax and using a cookie cutter to cut out a few (4 or more) of the same shape from the beeswax. Then you place the wicks in between the first few cut outs and the last few cut outs. You need to have warm hands and you press them together. Check out this link. The least expensive way to purchase beeswax (I have found) is through Kosher Krafts, if you buy their Chanukah Honeycomb candle set available here. There is enough for multiple candles and the wicks are included in the package. You could use Shabbat cookie cutters or whatever you or the children decide. Also be advised that beeswax burns more quickly than regular wax so the candle won’t last as long.

2)   Make a Besamim, or spice box.  Place sweet smelling spices such a whole cloves or cinnamon sticks into any one of a variety of recycled containers that have lids, such a baking soda can, or a film canister. Poke holes into the lid so you can smell the spices.  Decorate the outside of the box using black paper, glitter and 3 stars, or with tissue paper covered with a glue wash, or stickers, or whatever you like. You can also make Besamim like a potpourri sachet made from tulle and ribbon.

Or you can also poke cloves into an orange or an Etrog from Sukkot. Kosher Krafts  and Just for the Mitzvah also have kits available for purchase.


Science:  Try planting an indoor herb garden with a variety of spices to use for Besamim (Rosemary, oregano, basil, lavender, etc…). Email me if you would like to receive a booklet with ideas for indoor gardening by Gabe Goldman. Thanks Gabe!!


You could also explore the 5 senses as they relate to Havdalah. Sight – the Kiddush cup, the candle with the beautiful flame, sounds – singing the brachot and songs, smell – the Besamim spices, taste – the wine or grape juice, feel – we touch our pinkies into the wine, we can feel the bumpy candle, and the smooth Kiddush cup.


Consider doing some shadow experiments with your children. When we make the bracha on the Havdalah candle (specifically the fire -HaAish), it is customary to hold your fingers up to the candle like you are checking your nails. This creates a shadow on your hand to show the separation of light and dark. You could have the children cut out Havdalah shapes from black paper (and glue them onto craft sticks) then tell a story while behind a sheet with a light shining on them to create shadow puppets.


This next science activity is a great time to take digital camera pictures and make a classroom poster or book documenting your results as they relate to Shabbat and Havdalah. After talking to the children about how Havdalah separates Shabbat from the rest of the week (see discussion above), demonstrate what the word “separate” means by doing some science experiments using oil (representing Shabbat) and water (representing the rest of the week) and then try to mix them together (you can color the water to show a more dramatic separation).  Can they mix together? You just can’t “mix” Shabbat with the rest of the week; Shabbat always comes out on “top”! J

You could also do an experiment using water and black pepper. Pour water into a glass bowl (the water represents Shabbat – when you pour the water into the bowl say, “Ahhhh, Shabbat, a day of rest”). Then sprinkle the pepper (representing the week - as you sprinkle, mention work related activities or say “work, work, work”) into the bowl of water. Next put a dab of soap on your finger and touch the center of the pepper with your finger. Show children how the pepper separates from the water and moves to the side of the glass.  Move aside work week, and make room for Shabbat!  J


Project:  Make a “Havdalah house”. Cut out or draw the shape of a house. Then have the kids draw inside the window a Kiddush cup, and glue some cloves (or sprinkle cinnamon on some glue) into another window. Then inside the door draw a Havdalah candle. Over the roof have the children glue on 3 stars (or use stickers).


Baking/Science: It is a lot of fun to bake with children. Make some sugar cookie dough and divide it into 3 parts. Using food coloring, make 3 different colors of dough, than have the children make a “snake” from each color to braid or twist together as edible Havdalah candles after they are baked!


The recipe below makes a dough that is stiff (so it holds it’s shape and works well with this activity) but can be challenging to mix by hand, so using a free standing mixer is recommended. You can either make this recipe 3 times and add the food coloring to the wet ingredients, or divide the recipe into thirds.

Havdalah Cookie Recipe:
3 cups flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 cups pareve margarine
1 cups sugar
1 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. salt
food coloring optional

Cream together the margarine and sugar (add food coloring).  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix dry ingredients with the margarine mixture.  Mix well. Dough can be chilled or refrigerated overnight. Using the 3 colors of dough, create 3 dough “snakes” and braid or twist them together. Bake on ungreased or parchment covered baking sheet at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.  This recipe can make up to 3-4-dozen cookies depending on how big you make your “candle” cookies. 

Book Idea:  Using the ideas the children came up with from the discussion ideas above; create a classroom Havdalah book for your book shelf using digital camera pictures of your class making Havdalah (or doing the science “separation” experiments) or children’s illustrations.  This is a nice addition to the Shabbat book that I suggested last month for your classroom book shelf.

Book: Shalom Shabbat by Sue Remick Topek (this is a cardboard “chunky” book). Anybody know of any other Havdalah books??

Other: You can purchase a wooden Havdalah set for classroom play available here.







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