DIY kit for the search for leaven
Bedikat Chametz, or Search for Leaven is a quick, hands-on, kid-friendly and extremely memorable activity right before Passover starts. Basically, we hide bits of bread/leaven/chametz, let the kids find them at nightfall, and then destroy the bits the next day (the morning before the first seder). In short: hide + seek + darkness + flames = awesome. Continue reading
Dollhouse Purim teaparty
Kveller.com published my article on Converting Toys to Judaism. Do please read it at Kveller.com and leave a comment if you have ideas to share.
What does converting toys mean, exactly? It means we can use all the toys we already have, Jewishly. From Lego to play kitchens to Barbies to bath toys.
Here are a few more ideas and pictures I couldn’t include in the article, plus a few quotes.
“A Jewish toy is a toy that can accessorize a Jewish story.”
Torah and Bible stories, midrashim, folktales, holiday stories and the latest PJ Library selection can all be re-enacted or embellished Continue reading
Grating horseradish root for Chain. No, the goggles don’t help.
Passover has passed.
Did you buy a big ol’ horseradish root at the grocery store for Maror this year?
Did you toss it on the compost heap yet?
Well, run right out and pull it back off. You can use it to grow a new one for next year’s seder. Even a small piece should take root just fine. Your kid can help you, and then proudly claim ownership at Passover.
HOW WE CAN USE IT WITH KIDS
Horseradish satisfies two places on a seder plate: Maror and Chazeret. Traditionally, a piece of the whole root is best for the Maror, while the Chazeret can be an “adulterated” version of horseradish (see next paragraph) or a bitter lettuce like Romaine. Chazeret is fine to use for the Korech step of the seder (aka the Hillel sandwich).
A much more satisfying way to refer to adulterated Maror is chrain. Chrain/chrein is Russian for horseradish, but it means the grated kind. Use it plain as a condiment or add vinegar or beet juice. I prefer the plain, as vinegar seems to turn it a weird shade of turquoise at the edges. Either way, the potency is fleeting, so don’t plan on Continue reading
I want my kids to think Passover is fun. What’s more fun than marshmallows and fire?
Plus, I’m adding a dash of the just-released penultimate Harry Potter DVD (solely in order to justify the bad pun on Deathly Hallows).
Passover lasts 8 days, and at this point, keeping things fun is starting to wear as thin as a piece of Tea Matzah.
Passover S’mores are not new, but they work. Apply the toasted marshmallow to a piece of matzah spread with Elyon chocolate chips (or whatever chocolate is still around at this point), top with similar-sized piece of matzah and by the time it’s cool enough to eat the chips will have morphed into a pleasant smooshiness. If there is actual chocolate matzah still at hand, Continue reading
DIY plague Toys
DIY Passover Plagues Box and Dramatic Re-enaction
A kid-created seder activity.
Everything about the seder is designed to teach kids. Symbolic foods, the four questions, songs, Rabbinic lessons and the many discrepancies therein: eating yet more matzah for dessert (afikomen), leaning on pillows at the table, all that dipping? But usually, seders are so long and boring not much learning goes on, except learning that seders are long and boring.
Re-enacting the plagues can make seders more educational and fun. We are commanded to think of ourselves as slaves in Egypt: toys, props and simple costumes facilitate this leap of the imagination.
You can make this as simple as pulling out a plague toy and holding it up as each plague is recited, or you can go all out and re-enact with a Moses, Pharaoh, Israelites and Ancient Egyptians.
But, you might wonder, should plagues be fun? I avoid Haman punching bags Continue reading
Seder plate at Target: cheap and cute
At Target yesterday I found an endcap full of seder dishes. This discrepant event was so discrepant I almost didn’t believe it. Five bucks for a large, melamine seder plate with shallow depressions for each symbol, and with the English and Hebrew name for each.
Hebrew at Target?
And for $1.99 you can get a coordinating square matzah plate with just the three little Hebrew letters that spell matzah.
So very surprised and happy. Maybe melamine isn’t the earth’s friendliest material, but I am overlooking this fact in favor of the bigger fact that Target is selling dishes for my holiday.
Maybe this is a yearly occurrence where you come from, but not around here.
Todah rabah, Target.
Plague. How many frogs does one girl need?
I never actually claimed to be a balabusta. I said it was a title to which I aspired. So I can admit the following:
Until yesterday, all the Passover stuff was STILL OUT. We’ve been stepping over frogs and matzah trays and Miriam cups and place cards every day for weeks. I did put the Passover dishes away on time, but the decorations just got shoved towards the attic door and stayed, dust bunnies eddying between the mounds of plague toys, cardboard pyramids, and Lego mummies. Continue reading
Bubbe in action. So much so, even the camera shook. A blurry shot of Bubbe singing Chad Gadya.
We live in Nashville. Our families do not. At Passover, we vie with all sorts of other events and obligations and complications to get family here for seder. Usually, we must place our order for Bubbe at least a year in advance. Bubbe, now a widow and free agent, triangulates amongst Nashville, Philly, and New York for her seders. Although we placed our order for Pesach 2009 early enough, health issues cropped up that made this much-anticipated visit impractical. So, we had to go another year without Bubbe’s famous Yemenite rendition of the Hallel, and without Bubbe’s table-slapping, wine-glass-spilling gusto throughout the whole, never-long-enough-for-Bubbe evening.
She spent seder #1 with the Philly mishpacha, just a short drive away from her Center City high-rise. For seder #2, we figured she would settle Continue reading
Moses and the Pyramids
The last time I won a contest was when I was six years old. I colored something, Mom sent it in, and months later, long after I’d forgotten about any contest, I got a sealed box of 64 crayons in the mail; the kind of box with the built-in sharpener and the staggered stadium-seating for all 64 crisp, fragrant, pointy, pristine crayons. Because I was a careful child who grew into a careful adult, and because I have what may be a slightly pathological tendency to grasp and never let go, I actually still own many of those crayons. They are joined by newer additions, but they all live in a plastic bin that served my Teenager well, and now my Toddler (although he prefers messier markers with the removable tops he can throw under the refrigerator).
On Monday, I won a contest over at the Home-shuling blog, where I submitted a comment about how I make a seder interesting for kids. Apparently, two other slightly pathological tendencies: to over-prepare and to focus on minutiae, are good for thinking up and executing elaborate Afikomen Treasure Hunts. Continue reading
from generation to generation: Passover bagels
Passover bagels? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Nope. And believe me, they are so unlike real bagels, they will not induce any guilt or doubt about the Spirit of the Law in those who may be prone to such feelings about fluffy kosher for Passover baked goods. These bagels are heavy, sweet lumps devoid of all fluffiness, and are in every respect, kosher.
When Dead Nana was very much alive, she contributed Pesach bagels to every seder. They take the place of yeast rolls on the table, and are lovely at soaking up the juice from Aunt Bobbie’s brisket. At dairy breakfasts, straight from the oven, Continue reading
darkness and boils
Passover is a huge deal at our house. Part of the hugeness comes from years of seder memories… family and friends squeezed into our tiny dining room, knocking our knees against the fold-up table legs, spilling wine on the once-a-year starched linen tablecloths, throwing fake plagues at each other, eating till we nearly spew. Ah, memories.
Actually, ALL of the hugeness comes from the seders. Our seders. When we have elected, for one reason or another, to go to someone else’s house for seder, we always regret it later. It just isn’t the same. We love the freedom Continue reading
Here in the Buckle, I expect to have trouble getting all the Passover groceries I want. The grocery stores, bless their hearts, seem to forget Jewish holidays change dates every year, and sometimes wait too late to put stuff on display. They hardly ever order the same things year to year, and I might just have to do without Bazooka bubble gum and mini-marshmallows. And the matzah: they don’t know from Passover vs. regular, so I always doublecheck the hecksher on the box.
Last year we had one box of matzah to last the whole week. I was calling friends to borrow a sheet of matzah just to eke out a second seder. But it wasn’t just me: Continue reading