Hands-on Jewish Learning
My goal is to help kids and grownups spend time together making Jewish things. I like stuff that is hands-on, attractive, non-fussy, cheap and real, and so fun no one realizes it's educational.
The value is in the doing, not just the being done, and in the conversations and questions that happen along the way. Every project comes with helpful and (hopefully) pleasant chatter, because my native compulsiveness and enthusiasm means that I’ve given the meaning, function, and possible permutations a lot of thought. You won’t need to do much planning, because I’ll have done it for you.
Saw it here, first
PURIM LEGO gragger
Shavuot Edible Mt. Sinai
LEGO (and Hunger Games) Lag B’Omer
My articles elsewhere:• Hanukkah Parent School Visits (InterFaithFamily)
• A Jewish Backyard(InterFaithFamily)
•Jewish in Nashville (Kveller.com)
•Passover the Slacker Way (Kveller.com)
•Edible Fruit Bowls for Tu Bishvat (GourmetKosherCooking.com)
•Tu Bishvat Bird Feeder (Kveller.com)
•Tu Bishvat in Candy Land (Kveller.com)
•A Whale of a Snack for Yom Kippur (edible whales) (Kveller.com)
•I Need Storebought Thematic Snackyness and I Need it Now (edible shofars) (Kveller.com)
•Edible Craft: New Year's Apple Bowl for Honey (Kveller.com)
•Apple Print Blessings Placemat (Kveller.com)
•Mt. Sinai Muffins (Kveller.com)
•Converting Toys to Judaism(Kveller.com)
•Make a Mezuzah(Kveller.com)
•How to Make a Mezuzah with Kitsch and Class (PEZ dispenser + Mezuzah = PEZuzah)(MyJewishLearning.com)
- Hands-on Menorah Quiz (for School, Carnival)
- The Spin on Gendered dreidels
- “Oil Crush” synagogue program: Make Oil like a Maccabee
- Kid-decorated dreidels DIY
- Printable Dreidel rules, letter names and meanings
- The Final Menurkey (stick a fork in me, I’m done)
- Dollar Store Menurkey hack (and Talmudic quandary)
- Altoids tin Menorah
- Dormenorah (upcycled LED Menorah for dorm)
- Handyman Menorah (DIY “Man-orah” for dorm or home)
- Marmite Menorah
- Menurkey, quick and cheap
- Torah Scroll flannel board
- Edible Menorah in a Window
Pics from Posts
- Hands-on Menorah Quiz (for Schools, Carnival) #Hanukkah wp.me/pvKSY-1Uv 4 days ago
- The Spin on Gendered dreidels wp.me/pvKSY-1Ru 5 days ago
- a Meatloaf Menorah. Good Shabbes and Happy #Hanukkah: wp.me/pvKSY-1hZ http://t.co/eXCwOJrXj2 1 week ago
- Happy Thanksgiving, Happy #Hanukkah (papier mache Roasted Menurkey) wp.me/pvKSY-1Jw http://t.co/cCmuibZ8kC 1 week ago
- #MakeItHappen grant idea: #Hanukkah replica of Maccabee olive crushing program @federations wp.me/pvKSY-1Kh http://t.co/W7Swoq8LF7 1 week ago
- © Bible Belt Balabusta by Joanna Brichetto, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bible Belt Balabusta and Joanna Brichetto with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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Tag Archives: seder
Have an index card? You have a frog. And a placecard, an afikomen clue, a keep-hands-busy-activity, a plague, and a jumping frog game. Continue reading
The LEGO minifigs are jealous. This time, we’ve made a seder plate sized for the big people. Continue reading
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
Hub Cap Seder Plate. Is it the first? What with all the upcycled hubcaps online, I’m surprised. I see bird baths, bird feeders, wall clocks, yard art, but no seder plates. Then again, a Venn diagram of Jewish + DIY + Automotive Enthusiast would not reveal much of an overlap. Continue reading
Now, I’ve got to get busy making the real thing….
Have a happy Passover!
See below for the bits we used. If you make your own, please post pics to my Facebook page. Continue reading
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
In DIY Passover Plagues Box, I gave reasons and instructions for a kid-created seder activity: a box of plagues toys. You can keep the toys in a bin and pull them out every year, adding to and tweaking the selection as your kids grow. Preferably, they do the adding and tweaking with you.
Our favorite way to store and use the toys is in a home-made Box o’ Plagues, created from an empty matzah box.
With a scissors and a few pieces of tape, you’ll have a box with a lid, ready to put at each place setting (if you calmly use the boxes at the table, finding and holding up each toy in turn) or to give to each person as you prepare to throw things in the living room (Ancient Egypt).
By the way, transforming an ordinary matzah box, which opens at the narrow flaps Continue reading
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
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.
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
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
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