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newsletter3

December 2008, Kislev 5769 [email protected]

Written by Nechama Retting, Director of Education for Shlock Rock

Welcome to Shlock Rock Educator’s Newsletter Volume 3. Our goal is to give you some new ideas for teaching about Mitzvot & Middot, Torah, Israel and the Holidays. Visit our website at www.shlockrock.com

This month most schools are focusing on Chanukah and miracles. We would like to focus on Tzedaka and saying thanks to Hashem for the miracles we have everyday! According to our Sages, giving Tzedaka is an obligation. The word Tzedaka actually means justice, but we more commonly refer to it as charity. (See Vayikra 25:35 and Devarim 15:7-8 and Devarim 26 for resources.) The Rambam (Maimonides) established 8 levels of Tzedaka, including those who give begrudgingly, to those who help someone become independent. Farmers are even supposed to leave the corners of their field’s for the poor. During December, a lot of children are focused on getting gifts; our job as Jewish Educators is to help them think of others, and to learn ways to give gifts. We also want to make sure at the same time, that the children are aware of all the miracles and blessings they have. And the importance of saying thanks everyday to Hashem for all our blessings and miracles. According to our Sages, we should thank Hashem 100 times daily!

Recommended SHLOCK ROCK Songs: “Blessed is G-d” from the CD Lenny and the Shlockers, “Baruch Hu”, “Hallelu” and “I make a Bracha” on the CD Shlock Rock of Kids Sing Together, “Sing a Song of Tzedaka” from the CD Shlock Rock for Kids Volume 1, “Tzedaka Song”, “3 Times a Day”, “Everybody Say Amen!” and “Chanukah Medley” from the CD Shlock Rock for Kids Party Time! To hear the songs: click here or here.

(Then click on the CD, and then the song you want to hear. You can download a song to your computer or IPod for about the same price as a Dollar Store toy!! )

Suggested Activities to try with your students or family:

Discussion: Have the children think of things that they are thankful for. (Since you have probably just finished learning about Thanksgiving, this is a great time to revisit the concept of being thankful). How do you say thank you to Hashem? When you make a bracha before eating, is that saying Thank you to Hashem? Try and point out things to say thank you for (i.e. the trees, the birds, the beautiful day, the rain, health, etc…). Make a list of all the things you can say thank you for in one day. Can you make it to 100?  Discuss different ways to pray. (See book suggestions below)

Family Activity: One of the prayers we say before going to sleep at night is the Shema, and also a prayer that says “Blessed is G-d by day, blessed is G-d by night, blessed is G-d when we when we go to sleep and blessed is G-d when we rise.” Shlock Rock has a great song called “Blessed is G-d” on the CD Lenny and the Shlockers. Invite families to an evening program and teach the Shema and the song “Blessed is G-d”. Familiarize your children with the prayers ahead of time so they know them. This could be a Pajama party and you can have the families do a project together (examples: buy inexpensive pillow cases to decorate for bed time – sponge paint moons and stars, or do something with Teddy bears. You could also make a plaque with the bedtime prayers on them to hang by the child’s bed or make a count your blessings book.). Serve moon and star shaped cookies and milk. Teach the story about Yaakov and the Shema (email me if you don’t know it!). The song “Blessed is G-d” is also really fun to dance to! You could make this a movement activity where the children jump up on the words “Rise/Bikumeinu” and lay down on the words “Go to sleep/Bishachveinu”. You could also buy some inflatable instruments and microphones and rock on!! www.orientaltrading.com

Discussion: Listen to Shlock Rock’s Tzedaka songs (see above for suggestions). What are some ways that the children can give Tzedaka? Is Tzedaka just money? Can they think of some ways to help Israel? Chart or web their ideas and send them home to share with their families!!

Project: Tzedaka is not just giving money. You can donate your time and talents too. Using the ideas the children came up with in the above activity, have the children create things to share with an area nursing home or group home. Make paper flowers, cards, paintings, or you could make cookies to share as well. Take a field trip and hand deliver everything to the residents! Sing some songs or share a story with the children and the residents. Or make care packages for Israeli soldiers or American soldier in Iraq (make sure food items are kosher). Here is a resource to send cards to Israel: www.ALL4ISRAEL.org

ALL4ISRAEL
53 DEWHURST ST.
STATEN ISLAND, NY 10314

Have school/shul wide monthly projects dedicated to Tzedaka (i.e. September – school supplies, October – candy for children’s shelters, November – winter clothing drive, December – toys for tots, etc…)

Activity: Ask parents to send in Tzedaka money with their children daily. During circle time or before snack each day, have the children give a few coins to Tzedaka. Make this part of your day, each day! Decorate a special bag to attach to the children’s backpacks to bring Tzedaka money to school in. Teach one of Shlock Rock’s Tzedaka songs to sing, or play while collecting the money each day. What a great lesson to teach to our children’s families!!

Project: Make pushkes with the children. Kits can be purchased at www.jewishcrafts.com or www.kosherkrafts.com, or you can do the mitzvah of Bal Tashchit (Not destroying the World – hmmm good idea for a future newsletter! ) and use recycled materials to create a pushke (i.e. frosting containers, Hershey’s cocoa container, baking powder containers, yogurt containers, any container with a top, etc… Decorate using tissue paper and a glue wash, or fabric and Modge Podge, or stickers, or as desired. Have an adult use an Exacto Knife to cut a slit in the top.

Books: The Very Best Place for a Penny by Dina Rosenfeld, TenTzedakah Pennies by Tzivia Adler, As Big As an Egg and Perfect Porridge by Rochel Sandman, A Thread of Kindness by Leah Stollar, Bagels from Benny by Aubrey Davis or “Croak, Croak” in the book Seven Animal Stories for Children by Howard Bogot and Mary Bogot-this is a story about different ways to pray.

Israel Connection: Last month I suggested making a floor map of Israel (of course you made one!!). On the map, act out the story of Chanukah, using toys knights, and of course elephants! Create the caves the Macabees hid inside in the Judean Mountains (A geography lesson too!). Use only Israeli dreidels on the map of Israel! Show the children the “pey” (Israeli dreidel) and “shin” (our dreidels). Listen to the “Chanukah Medley” from the CD Shlock Rock for Kids Party Time! for both versions of the song. Olives are ripe in Israel now. Crush olives to make oil, (with a mortar and pestle, and then squeezed through cheese cloth) create clay Chanukiot, (A Menorah has 7 branches!) and light it with real olive oil. Here is a link for making clay:

http://www.make-stuff.com/kids/clay.html

 

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