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A great multimedia way to learn the parsha, at Torah4Kids


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

Welcome to Shlock Rock Educator’s Newsletter Volume 8.

Our goal is to give you some new ideas for teaching about Mitzvot & Middot, Torah, Israel and the Holidays.

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Adult Learning: This month there are 3 fun things to learn about! We have the holiday of Lag B’Omer, the holiday of Shavuot (actually in early Sivan) and the extremely important holiday of Mother’s Day!  Lag B’Omer is the 33rd day counting the Omer (Remember on your Sefirat HaOmer we suggested last month?). Lag B’Omer is a fun holiday traditionally celebrated with picnics, outdoor activities, and bonfires. Some people make S’mores, but in Israel, they traditionally roast potatoes in the bonfire. Games of archery are also traditional. Shavuot is the holiday when we learn about the receiving of the 10 Commandments on Mt. Sinai and the Story of Ruth and of course, eat dairy foods! It is also one of the Shalosh Regalim (3 Pilgrimage Holidays when fruits, or grains (Bikkurim) were brought to the temple in Jerusalem as gift offerings). Then there is Mother’s Day which is also very important. Did you know that by celebrating Mother’s Day we are doing a mitzvah? The mitzvah of Kibud Av Va’Em (honoring our parents – the 5th Commandment)!!

Recommended SHLOCK ROCK songs: “Kibud Av Va’em” , “Torah” and “The 6th of Sivan” from Shlock Rock for Kids Sing Together, “We read the Torah”, “Chamisha Chumshei Torah” from Shlock Rock for Kids Vol. 1 and “Abba Always Has A Sefer”, “We Got the Torah”, “Trup”, “Breishit” from Shlock Rock for kids Vol. 3, “10 Commandments”, “The Parsha Song”, “Ruth’s Song” and “Saleinu Al Kfeifeinu” from Shlock Rock for Kids – Party Time! , “Honor your Parents” from Lenny and the Shlockers and “49 Days to Count the Omer” from the CD WoodShlock, and “All Night Long” and “Krias HaTorah” from Shlock Rock to Unite All Jews. To hear the songs, click here (kids CDs) or here and here (other CDs), then click on the CD and then the song you want to hear. You can down load 3 songs to your computer or IPod for about the same price as a package of Blintzes!! ($.99 for each song!) For downloads just click here! You could also download the entire CD Shlock Rock for Kids Party Time for only $10.00! Amazing!!  Email me if you don’t know how to download!! (My son will talk you through it!)

Suggested Activities to try with your students or family:

Lag B’Omer Dramatic play: This is a great time to do a unit on camping. Get out the tents and play food. Make a “bonfire” out of balled up newspaper (the stones) formed into a circle. Then take tissue paper (red, orange and yellow) to use as the flame. Gather sticks from outside to add to the “fire” and to use to roast marshmallows (cotton balls glued onto the sticks). Tell campfire or Torah stories, turn off the lights and use flashlights! This bonfire is recycling in action! (Remember the mitzvah of Bal Tashchit (not destroying the Earth) from February’s newsletter!)

Lag B’Omer Story: While sitting around the “bonfire”, tell the story of how the Jewish people were not allowed to study Torah during the time of Rabbi Akiva. So people used to go out into the fields with bows and arrows so if the Roman guards came along, they could pretend they were hunting and not learning. Role-play this activity with some children as Soldiers, and some children as the scholars learning. Make sure you have a “look out” to warn the Jewish scholars when the soldiers are approaching!

Lag B’Omer Games: Have a scavenger hunt outside. Do some relay races with the children. Play with toy bows and arrows, (sometimes available at Dollar Stores), make a target and do some target practice activities or toss a bean bag at the target.

Have the children collect a “rainbow” of items from outside (something in nature that is: red, yellow, pink, green, purple, orange and brown).

Honoring Parents Craft: Make a door knob hanger with the words: “Kibud Av Va’em” on one side and “Shhh! Ima (Mom) is resting!” on the other side and decorate it with craft foam and stickers. (Or you can decorate it with bug stickers and write: Don’t “bug” Ima! )

Make a job chart or coupon book with ways the children can help their parents around the house (I’ll clean up my room without being asked, I’ll watch my baby brother/sister while Mom rests, I will unload the dishwasher, I’ll put my laundry away, I will sort the socks, etc…).

Honoring Parents Books: Peanut butter and Jelly for Shabbos by Dina Rosenfeld, The Key is Under the Pillow by Leah Perl Shollar and Danny Three Times by Leibel Estrin.

Shavuot Project/Science/Israel Connection: Talk to the children about where bread comes from. (Usually the answer is the supermarket!). Show the children how wheat grows and that it is ripe in Israel now for Shavuot. Try planting wheat seeds. Practice harvesting wheat (purchased at local craft stores) and separating the grain from the chaff.

After “harvesting”, grind the “grain” using a mortar and pestle and grind the wheat into flour (make sure to grind wheat berries - available at Whole Foods and health food stores since the craft store grain is not for consumption). Also have “store bought” flour on hand as well to really bake with. Then bake challah or pita bread. The children will be able to see why we say: Hamotzi lechem min ha aretz – Who brings bread from the Earth. This lesson can be revisited throughout the year when you bake birthday cakes, soufganiot, hamantaschen, Matzoh, etc…. See book suggestions below.

Shavuot Cooking: Have the children each bring in a fruit (Bikkurim) and make fruit salad. It is also traditional to make dairy foods for Shavuot. Bake a cheese cake with the children.

Cheese Cake Recipe

2 (8oz) cream cheese packages (softened)
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Pour into a prepared graham cracker crust and bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until set. Or in cupcake pans using a Vanilla wafer for the crust (baking time should be 10-15 minutes instead).

Shavuot Book: Ten Good Rules, or Ten Good Rules; A Counting Book by Sue Remick Topek, The Story of Ruth by Maxine Rose Shur and The Little Red Hen is a great book to read to the children when doing the wheat lesson suggested above as it goes through the steps from seed to bread. A Dozen Daisies for Raizy by Rebecca Klempner

Shavuot Discussion: Talk to the children about acts of chesed (kindness). Ruth was a very kind person. What makes someone kind? How can we be kind? Make a list of their suggestions (with pictures as visual reminders) and post them in the room. Make sure to point out acts of chesed from the children daily. (“Wow! You are just like Ruth! What a beautiful act of chesed you did when you helped Sarah clean up the paint she spilled!”).

Shavuot Science: Plant a Chesed garden. Find an area in your playground that can be designated as a garden. Have the children plant vegetables and take care of the garden. When the vegetables are ripe, donate them (the Bikkurim) to a local food bank (as suggested in February’s newsletter).

Shavuot Project: Ruth was King David’s great grandmother. Talk about families and Family Trees. Have the children (with the help of parents) talk about where their name came from (were they named for a grandparent or someone special?). Make a Hebrew name banner or family tree. A great family project!

Shavuot Activity: Have a school wide Food Drive to donate to a shelter or food bank. This way our students are bringing the “Bikkurim” to share with others.

Shavuot Game/Math Activity: Make a board game leading up Mount Sinai to the tablets of the 10 Commandments. Use a die and Fischer Price “little people” for game pieces.


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