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A great multimedia way to learn the parsha, at Torah4Kids




April 2010, Nissan 5770   [email protected]   

Written by Nechama Retting, Director of Education for Shlock Rock


Welcome to Shlock Rock Educator’s Newsletter Volume 17. 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 learn about ways to bring more chesed (kindness) into our schools and homes. Here are just a few examples from Pirkei Avot (Ethics of our Sages) related to kindness: 1:2 – The World stands on 3 things – Torah, prayer and acts of kindness. 2:5 – When there are no kind people around, strive to be kind. 2:10 – Which is more important, judging favorably, acquiring a good friend, doing good deeds, or having a good heart? Answer: Having a good heart, because then you will do ALL those things. 2:13 – Be like Hashem, merciful; slow to anger, and full of loving kindness. 3:10 Kindness (good deeds) are better than wisdom. One who is kind is pleasing to Hashem. 3:19 – The world is judged with kindness in accordance with one’s good deeds.

We can teach our children about the value of kindness and good deeds (Mitzvot and Middot).  The Torah commands us to” love your neighbor as yourself”. Rabbi Akiva went a little further and said: V’ahavta L’reacha Camocha zeh k’lal gadol b’Torah” – Love your neighbor as your self is the greatest principal in the Torah.   

There are also many Pirkei Avot examples related to greeting people with chesed.

Pirkei Avot 1:15 – Receive everyone with a cheerful face. Pirkei Avot 3:16 – Receive everyone with good cheer. Pirkei Avot 1:12: Try to be like Aharon HaKohain, love peace, seek out peace and draw others to peace and the Torah.

Pirkei Avot 4:12 – Be humble in spirit before all people. Pirkei Avot 4:20 – Be the first in greeting everyone.
 It also says: “
Mekabel et haOrchim b’saver panim yafot” which means welcome guests and greet everyone with a nice face.  It says in the Talmud (Bava Batra 9b) “Whoever gives tzedakah to a poor person receives 6 blessings, but whoever greets them with kindness receives 11 blessings!”  Even if you don’t feel like it, a kind smile can really change your whole day (and the day of the person receiving the smile too!) plus you get 11 blessings! J How can you go wrong??


Suggested Shlock Rock Songs: “V’ahavta” from Shlock Rock for Kids - Sing Together (about loving your neighbor as yourself) and “Bein Adam L’Chavero” from Shlock Rock for Kids - Party Time! and “Everyone I Meet” and “When I say Boker Tov” from Shlock Rock for Kids Volume 3 and “The Rhythm of the Nation” from Shlock Rock Songs from the Holy Land. To hear the songs, click these links:  kids songs  or original songs,  and parody 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. 


Suggested Activities to try with your students or family:


For Passover related activities, click here.


Discussion/Role-Play Activity: Imagine it is your first day in a new setting. You are nervous and excited all in one. How will the children react to you? Will you find a friend? Role-play scenarios (both positive and negative) and the children’s reactions, then discuss how the reactions made them feel. Have the children practice greeting people or welcoming a friend. What are things we can say? Good morning, how are you? Welcome, it’s nice to see you, etc… Try it in Hebrew:


Student A: Boker Tov

Student B: Boker Ohr

Student A: Ani Nechama (child fills in their name)

Student B: Ani Tobey

Student A: Na’eem Me’od (nice to meet you)

Student B: Na’eem Me’od!


Project: Have the children draw a self portrait while looking at their face in a mirror. Can they draw themselves meeting a new friend with a smile on their faces?


Activity:  Arrange for children to visit a local nursing home or a group home for the disabled.  Or invite some guests to your home or school. Have the children make some drawings or paintings and cookies to share (check on allergies/dietary restrictions/Kashrut before baking) and have them prepare a few songs (see the Shlock Rock suggested songs listed above!!) to sing to brighten their guest’s day. Make sure the children greet everyone with a smile!


Game/Math Activity: Play some “getting to know you games” like a slap and clap game with the children saying “My name is _______ and I like __________.” After everyone has had a turn, you can compare and contrast the children: “David likes baseball and so does Steve. Debbie’s favorite color is purple and Sarah likes yellow.” You could also make this a math activity where the children poll their friends for their favorite color. Then make a graph with the results. You could also play some games with assigned pairs to help encourage new friendships.


Books:  A Smile From Andy by Nan Halcomb or A Charm for Jo by Bill and Laurie Brady. Both of these books are about children with special needs in new situations and are available through Turtle Books at Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henke, Don’t Cry Big Bird by Sarah Roberts, Swimmy by Leo Leoni, It’s Mine by Leo Leoni, Horton Hatches an Egg by Dr. Suess,  Yettele’s Feathers by Joan Rothberg, The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister, Yossi and Laibel Hot on the Trail and Yossi and Laibel On the Ball by Dina Rosenfeld.


Activity:  Create a book for your book corner that is a story about your classroom. Page examples: Every morning we greet our friends as they come into our room. Boker Tov Naomi! Debbie and Sharon are reading books together. See how they can share the bean bag chair? David and Brian are helping their friend Steve clean up all the blocks – what kind friends! Etc… Make sure to include every child doing daily activities and sharing with friends. Remember to find those panim yafot!  You could even make it a “Solutions” book with problems and positive solutions using chesed.


Discussion: Anytime is a good time to discuss good Middot (manners) with the children! These concepts are easily revisited throughout the year. What are good manners? Are please and thank you the only manners you know? When do you use your manners? Make a chart of good Middot examples and post them in your room for reference throughout the year. Remember to use positive words and not to focus on what the children should not do.


Game: Create a Lotto or matching game using Google Images or classroom photographs showing different ways to be kind. Examples: Comforting a friend, sharing a book, sharing a toy, putting trash in the garbage can, recycling, shutting the lights off, etc…  Children could also sort them by kindnesses towards people, and kindnesses for the earth.


Activity: Read the story Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henke and talk to the children about the WAY we talk. When the children in the story say that Chrysanthemum is named for a flower, are they meaning that with kindness? How do you know? Sometimes it is not what we say, but how we say it that makes it kind or unkind.


Science: Take a balance scale and put a J on one side for “Kind” and a L for “Not Kind” on the other side. Talk to the children about different scenarios and let them determine if they are kind or not kind. Have the children place a marble into the appropriate side of the scale. After you have given a few examples with choices for the answers, have the children come up with their own answers. Have them predict which side will be heavier. Examples:


1)    Debbie dropped the blocks, what could happen next?

a)    Bobby started laughing at her.

b)   Bobby ran over to help her clean them up.

2)   The children are lining up to go to Music and Sarah is the line leader. Rachel wants to be next to Sarah, but David is already there.

a)    David says, “That’s ok Rachel, you can come in front of me.”

b)   David says, “Hey! No cutting!”

3)   You are playing outside on the playground and your friend gets hurt.  What should you do?

4)   You find your friend’s favorite toy on the ground, what should you do?

5)   Your mom made some delicious cookies while you were playing with your friend, what would be a fair thing to do with the cookies?


Project: Have the children try and draw pictures of people doing kind things. Have the children brain storm different ideas together. You could also look through magazines for pictures depicting acts of kindness and have the children cut them out and make a Kindness Collage.










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