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newsletter7

April 2009, Nisan 5769 [email protected]
Written by Nechama Retting, Director of Education for Shlock Rock

Welcome to Shlock Rock Educator’s Newsletter Volume 7. 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

Adult Learning: This month we have the holiday of Pesach (Passover) and the Torah reading of Shemini. The most observed Jewish holiday is Passover and it is probably the most difficult holiday to observe! Traditionally, people clean their houses to remove all forms of Chametz (leavened products) from their homes, cars and offices (and in our case, schools!). This is where the concept of “spring cleaning” came from! A lot of people also change their dishes and all kitchen related items to special Pesadik (kosher for Passover) items. The parsha Shemini from the Torah that is read this month, also talks about Kashrut (the laws for keeping kosher) so there is an excellent tie in. It is stated in the Torah (seeVayikra 11) “do not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.” This commandment is really based on an act of chesed (kindness, a very frequent theme in our Torah!) – when a mother cow gives birth to a calf and produces milk to feed her calf, it is not kind to cook the calf in the milk created to keep her calf alive. There are many other laws related to Kashrut, if you are interested in learning. And for Pesach, there are even more rules! I know this is a touchy subject for some people, but please keep in mind, we are not looking to judge anyone’s level of Kashrut or observance, but we can certainly share some educational ideas and have some fun as well!

Recommended SHLOCK ROCK songs: Passover related: “Sefirah”, “Do you know the Matzoh Man” from Shlock Rock for Kids Vol. 1 and “No More Bread”, “Chad Gadya” from Shlock Rock for Kids Vol. 3 and “Who Knows One?”, “Afikomen” and “Bedikat Chametz Song” from Shlock Rock for Kids – Sing Together, “Seder too” from Shlock Rock To Unite All Jews, “The Seder Started” from ReJewVenated (this is a really great song!). Kosher related: “I Keep Kosher” from Shlock Rock for Kids Party Time! , “Two sets of dishes” from Shlock Rock for Kids Volume 3 – We’re in the band, and my favorite Police parody: “Every bite you take” from Shlock Rock to Unite All Jews, or GH1. To hear the songs, click here or here then click on the CD, then the song you want to hear. You can download 7 Pesach Kids songs to your computer or IPod for just $5.00 just click here! It is almost the same price as a box of Matzoh. WOW!

Suggested Activities to try with your students or family:

Books: Kosher related: Fins and Scales a Kosher Tale by Deborah Uchill Miller. This book explains the rules of Kashrut in a fun, rhyming story.

Passover Related: A Child’s Haggadah Kar-Ben Publishers, A First Haggadah by Shulamit E. Kustanowitz, Who Knows One? and A Book of Jewish Numbers by Yaffa Ganz, Celebrate Passover by Deborah Heiligman (A National Geographic series that shows the holiday in different countries in the world). The Matzoh Man by Naomi Howland. For more Passover book ideas click here or here.

Activity: Have the children prepare for Pesach by doing some spring cleaning using brooms and dustpans, spray bottles (with a drop of baby shampoo mixed with water) and sponges. You could also clean the tables off with shaving cream (This is a fun fine motor activity too – can you write your name in the shaving cream?) and your whole classroom will smell great! Take out your water table and wash all of your play food, then remove all “Chametz” from your play food (bread, pasta, cookies, etc...). Remember to throw away your play-doh. Change the play dishes for new dishes in your family corner. Add in some food boxes that are kosher for Pesach to use for dramatic play. Have Passover ritual items available as well, Kiddush cup, Seder plate, Matzoh cover, Afikomen, etc… Click here for a cute set.

You could also do some sorting activities with Passover foods vs. non Passover foods.

Take out all of your toy animals (plastic and stuffed) and sort them by kosher vs. non kosher. Then try some patterning games with the animals.

Invite the local Chabad house to come in for a Matzoh Bakery demonstration. It’s fun and educational! Did you know that Matzoh must be made and baked within 18 minutes in order to not rise and to be kosher?

Game: Create some cards with pictures of various foods (make sure some are regular foods (Challah, pizza, pasta, chicken, fruits, etc…) and some are Pesach foods (Matzoh, knaidelach, macaroons, etc…) using Google Images. Sort and discuss the different foods. Play some lotto matching games. Can some of these foods fit into both categories, for Passover and for everyday? Which ones? (Meats, fish and most fruits and veggies are kosher for Passover and year round depending on your affiliation and family background. There are different rules for Ashkenazi Jews vs. Sephardic Jews.)

Project: Ask the children to bring in hekshers (Kosher symbols like OU, OK, Star K or “Kof” K) from food packages. Create a collage of kosher symbols. You could also ask parents for Kosher for Pesach food boxes to use in your housekeeping area. You can even take a field trip to a supermarket and go on a heksher scavenger hunt!

Activity/Game: Play a hot and cold game with some play Chametz (bread or pasta etc…) that you hide in your room, have children take turns hiding and finding the “Chametz”. Tell them they are hot when they are close to the item and cold when they are far away. Then practice sweeping up the Chametz with the candle, feather and spoon. It is also fun to burn some real Chametz (bread) with the children as well, provided you follow proper safety measures! To learn how to burn the Chametz, click here. The hot and cold game could also be done with a piece of play Matzoh.

Project: Have the children make placemats to use at home. One can be for meat and one can be for dairy. They could weave paper in an over under pattern in the traditional colors (blue for dairy and red for meat) or they could cut pictures out of the newspaper grocery ads to glue on the placemats. Laminate the placemats for durability.

Alternatively, they could make a special Kosher for Passover placemat with pictures from Jewish catalogues like the Source for Everything Jewish (or Google Images) or your local newspaper. Ask parents to save Jewish catalogues (or ask your local Judaica shop) and bring them to school. They come in very handy for all the holidays! Laminate the placemats for durability.

Make a Matzoh cover or Afikomen bag using a recycled sheet or t-shirt (Remember the Mitzvah of Bal Tashchit (not destroying the world) from February’s newsletter!) decorated with fabric paints or markers. You can also make a Matzoh print from corrugated cardboard and brown or tan paint (the wavy lines make a print that resembles Matzoh) cut into a square or circle (depending on your family’s minhag (tradition)).

Or make a “Matzoh Man” puppet using a print made from the corrugated cardboard prints described above, and then add paper arms and legs made from strips of paper accordion folded and attached to the print. Then add googly eyes, a nose and mouth and you are good to go. A puppet could also be made from a box that Matzoh comes in with arms and legs attached (and of course the face).

Dramatic play: Act out the story of Pesach (from the book of Shemot in the Torah) or the story “The Matzoh Man” (see the book section above and project section for puppet idea). Play the song “Do you know the Matzoh Man” from the CD Shlock Rock for Kids Volume 1.

Movement: Play one of the Shlock Rock songs suggested above and dance. My kids love to rock to “The Seder’s Started” from ReJewVenated or “I Got My Own Seder Too” from To United All Jews!! We like to use the inflatable instruments suggested in December’s Newsletter from Oriental Trading.

Project/Math: This is also a great time to make a “Sefirat HaOmer”. This is a chart to count the days between Passover and the receiving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai (Shavuot). All you need is a chart with numbers 1-49. I like to make the chart so the numbers lead up a mountain (Mt. Sinai) to the top to the 10 Commandments (Shavuot). Please email me if you would like a copy. It is a wonderful mitzvah to teach your students and their families and a great daily math activity as well! The Torah says: “And you shall count from the day after the day of rest (second Seder), until the day that you bring the Omer (grain gift offering for Shavuot); seven weeks shall there be. Then you will observe the Festival of Shavuot for the L-RD, your G-D.” (See Vayikra 23:15 and Devarim 16:8-10) If you are interested in learning how to count the Omer with the bracha, click here.

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