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newsletter4

January 2009, Tevet 5769 [email protected]

Written by Nechama Retting, Director of Education for Shlock Rock

Welcome to Shlock Rock Educator’s Newsletter Volume 4. 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

Winter is upon us, and that means it is also cold and flu season! So, this month we will talk about the Mitzvah of Bikkur Cholim (visiting the sick). In November, we learned how Hashem visited Avraham after his brit milah (Beresheet 17). Our sages have taught us that if Hashem visits the sick, than so should we! When visiting someone who is not well, we are taught not to visit too early in the morning, too late in the day, or to stay too long. We must be sensitive to what others need. We wish the patient a “Refuah Shlaima” which means a complete healing. The Mi Shabayrach prayer is traditionally recited and readings from the book of Psalms. Daily during Shacharit (morning prayers), we include Bikkur Cholim as one of the concepts by which a person enjoys the rewards of the mitzvah in this world and also in the World to come. Bikkur Cholim is a Mitzvah, and an act of Chesed (kindness) or Gemilut Chasadim (an act of loving-kindness). The Talmud says visiting a sick person takes away some of their pain. Bikkur Cholim societies have existed since the Middle Ages! Additionally, we can encourage the mitzvah of Shmirat Haguf as well (taking care of our body). There is a prayer that is said in the morning that says: “Praised are You, Hashem, Healer of all, sustaining our bodies in wondrous ways.” Then at night we say: “Thank You Hashem, Healer of the people Israel.”

Recommended SHLOCK ROCK songs: “Refuah Shlaima” from the CD Shlock Rock for Kids Party Time!. “Mitzvos Today” from the CD Shlock Rock 5 ½ Kosher Police. To hear the songs click here (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 healthy bottle of water!! Amazing!! )

Suggested Activities to try with your students or family:

Books: Get Well Soon – A Bikkur Cholim Story by Dina Rosenfeld. Little Red Riding Hood can be altered to include (or stress) the mitzvah of Bikkur Cholim. Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother is not feeling well, so Red packs a little nosh (snack) and goes to visit her Bubbe to make her feel better (Obviously Red is Jewish! ). Farm Flu by Teresa Bateman and Albert Whitman is a story about animals who are not feeling well and the farmer’s son who takes care of them. Bear Feels Sick by Karma Wilson. Any book related to caring for someone not feeling well can also be modified to fit your needs. Remember to use the mitzvah terminology!

Activity: This is a great way to help children visualize “germs”. I do this before I start any discussion related to the topic of health. Gather the children into a circle (Put a little hand lotion on your hands and rub it around, then have a little glitter on your hand as well, but not so the kids can see it!!) and pretend to sneeze into your hand. Then sing a good morning song (how about Shlock Rock’s song “When I say Boker Tov!”? click here then click on the song) and shake everyone’s hand as you go around the circle (you will leave a little glitter on each hand as you go around). Then you can begin your discussion on health and germs!

Craft: Have each child in your class bring in a photo of themselves from home. Make a “Refuah Shlaima Phone Directory” to keep at school with a page for each child with their photo, name and phone number. This will be used to call a classmate if (k’nina hura!) they are sick (laminate for durability). This is a great time to help younger children practice writing their names and to practice writing and remembering their phone numbers as well. Have the children, using toy phones, practice making calls to talk to a friend who is ill. Not only are they practicing how to dial a phone number, but chesed (kindness) and phone manners at the same time. When a child in the class is sick and stays home from school, make a phone call from the class and tell them how much everyone misses them and that you hope they feel better soon. Have the children sing the chorus to the Shlock Rock song “Refuah Shlaima”. If the child is out a few days, have the class make cards for them and send them home with a parent who lives nearby. It is important to make sure our sick friends know how much we miss them, and to try and help them feel better

Dramatic Play: Set up the classroom as a Doctor’s office or hospital. Take out the doctor’s kits, have Ace bandages, latex gloves and band-aids available with the dolls and stuffed animals. Children can role play and take turns being the doctor who comes to visit and take care of the sick dolls or animals. They can also make pretend meals (in the kitchen set with play food) to bring to the sick family as they do the mitzvah of Bikkur Cholim, visiting their sick friends.

Activity: It is common practice to prepare food for the family of someone not feeling well (A Mitzvah Meal!). Have the children make a meal to share with a sick family, or for a family who has a new baby. Lasagna is very simple for children to prepare (the noodles do not need to be cooked in advance – just use additional sauce, here is an easy recipe using optional veggies too: Click here). Arrange for a room parent to make a sign up sheet for families to take turns making meals for the family in need. This is a great concept to teach, and includes parents and their children working together to do a mitzvah. This is a great community building activity!

Discussion and Movement Activity: Explain to the class that exercising is doing the mitzvah of Shmirat Haguf - taking care of our bodies. What are some other ways we can take care of our bodies? (Eating healthy foods, going to the doctor when we need to, washing hands after we cough or sneeze, etc…) Make a list for the wall to refer to as needed. This is also a great time to review the body parts in Hebrew and English. You could do the “Hebrew Hokey Pokey” the Shlock Rock way click here (and click on the song)! Or listen to the Shlock Rock songs suggested above and do a mitzvah and dance! Your heart will thank you for it!

Project: Do a tzedakah project with your class and create some cards, or art work to brighten someone’s day that is in a hospital or a nursing home. Some hospitals have a program called “Happy Hats”. Children decorate inexpensive hats for children who are undergoing chemotherapy and have lost their hair. Painter’s caps are available at www.orientaltrading.com. My classes have also made badges for children in the hospital using felt, ribbon, (Good Job or WOW etc…) stickers with a safety pin hot glued to the back. You could also collect money to send to www.happyhatsforkids.com.


Badges donated to Children in the Hospital

 

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