I have longed for thy salvation, O L-RD; and thy Torah is my delight. Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments. Psalm 119:174-176

23 September 2012

Yom Kippur with small children - part 2

Rose, photo by J.Stahl

So, I've been looking online for some projects to help us out this Yom Kippur, to help make it a little more "real" for the kids, and easier to grasp some of the finer aspects of prayer, services and the story of the Prophet Jonah.

I hit the jackpot!

Haley's Butterfly Garden has a wonderful post called "Fishing for Letters" - which would be absolutely awesome using the Hebrew Alphabet Fridge Magnets!  If you don't have a fishing pole handy, you could very easily use a stick and some fishing twine that has a magnet attached to the opposite end. Something like these magnetic sheets could be manipulated to work well. I wish I could find something like these here! I'm still looking. I might have something I can re-purpose though.

ChabadKids has a wonderful list on how to observe Yom Kippur as a small child, as does this site, which links to Torah Tots, and a couple other useful sites. Chabad also has some children's stories available.

This Messianic site has a little bit more information, and this Messianic PDF isn't half bad either, which could be used to explain things to an older child. has some wonderful coloring pages which I've already printed out for the High Holidays in PDF format.

Calvary Chapel has a PDF that covers 1st through 6th grade on the story of Jonah, which might come in handy.  I noticed their curriculum skips entirely over the book of Leviticus, so you might want to scour Torah Tots, Chabad, Aish and Aklah instead for some coloring materials if you ever need that. I don't like the shaming aspect and anti-Torah aspect of some of CC's material for children - so we will mainly be using the coloring pages when / if I do reference them. (Have no fear!)

Crayola did have a pretty awesome coloring page, as does Super Coloring Book. Just keep in mind, if you are going to try and keep a more Orthodox aspect of Yom Kippur, all the Sabbath rules due apply - so no crayons/coloring or work-related play for the littles. But, it would be great prep before, or something to do after Yom Kippur to talk about if you do keep a more strict observance.

Joyful Jewish has a cute little Fish and Jonah craft, that would work well with some of the Preschool set, but more the 1-3rd grade group.  This one would work well for the preschool to 3rd grade set as well. I love it, it's just so precious! More cute Jonah and the fish crafts here. The last site requests membership, but from the look of things on that page, most things you could "wing" rather well without joining.

One of the bloggers on Kveller suggested purchasing Stauffer's kosher Whale crackers for Yom Kippur for the smaller members of the family. Well, I live overseas and we have Celiac disease to contend with. So, I'll see if we can adapt this recipe to be gluten and dairy free. (We recently found some cool cheese alternative!!)

A Jewish Homeschool blog has two posts on the high holidays. It encompasses Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  Her wonderful ideas can be found here, here and here. If you can't squeeze some of these projects in this week, they're wonderful to print and file to do for next year!

What, if anything have you found online or in your local congregation that you will be using this, or next year? I look forward to hearing from you!

22 September 2012

Preparing for Yom Kippur with children

Rose, photo by J.Stahl

As a mother of a four year-old, and a soon to be three year-old, I'm looking for good activities and ideas that we can implement in the coming days leading up to Yom Kippur, and in the coming years before they are old enough to fast and observe it fully.

My new favorite book is "The Family Treasury of Jewish Holidays" by Malka Drucker. I got it on, but it is readily available on It's a lovely hardcover with beautiful illustrations, a few recipes and a few songs included.

A Messianic book that I found recently and can slowly begin incorporating into our lives is "Celebrations of the Bible: A Messianic Children's Curriculum" by Lederer Books. It's geared more towards Sunday/Sabbath school and more than two students, so some of the projects we can't really do. I got my copy on version of the site. It has a couple cute Jonah-related coloring pages for Yom Kippur and some items for the older children who can read and write.

Around twelve years ago, I got a copy of Robin Sampson and Linda Pierce's "A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays with Activities for all ages" -  It would be absolutely awesome for Sunday/Sabbath school, or as Homeschool material. In fact, I know people who use it exactly for that purpose and love it.  It is geared towards older ages, but someone who is experienced with teaching some Sunday School and such, would be able to readily translate this down to smaller ages and smaller groups.  Things do get a little "squidgy" trying to do some of the projects gluten free though. (Challah for example) Other items look like they'd only work with a middle to large classroom (5-20 children), but I think if you don't dwell on that fact, you can take some of the ideas and use them to transform your Sabbath table.

A site I absolutely love for Sabbath table (and holiday table) ideas is The Jewish Hostess. As I see table items go on sale (even in the craziest places), I pick things up one at a time to lay by for the holidays or an "every day" Shabbat for the kids to have something good to look forward to. I haven't been as good about it as of late with our health issues, but it is something I really look forward to - setting our Sabbath table and watching the children react to the different items on it.

I'd been searching high and low for something in German, but outside of Chabad and a couple things I could find here and there, I'd not found much.  I found a cute little book called "Mit Ida und J├╝dischen Festen durchs Kindergartenjahr "  It's about a little girl named Ida, and her year in Kindergarten and working through each of the holidays. I lent my copy to the kindergarten last year, so that the teachers in my older son's classroom would know what we are doing instead of the holidays generally practiced here in the Lutheran and Catholic churches in the village.

What books do you like to use to help you through Yom Kippur and the High Holidays with children?

New Beginnings

Tzitzit made by & photographed by J.Stahl

There's been a lot of changes in me and the children since I last blogged here. I anticipate a lot of changes come the end of the High Holidays.

I look forward to sharing some of the new things that I have been learning, as well as some of the new things that I have been doing.  For one, I've opened my own Etsy shop after much prayer. It is my hope that I can again make Tzitziot and serve the Messianic community in that capacity.

Our health issues have escalated, which involved a couple trips to the pediatrician, seeing a pediatric GI and scheduling an endoscopy for my youngest to find out why he is having spells of vomiting, diarrhea and unexplained fever. We have no answers yet.

I am also seeing the doctor and getting iron infusions, to hopefully bypass my gut and increase the iron in my system to sufficient amounts.  To help things along, I'm making dietary changes and we've joined a gym that will open on the weekend next week. I am looking forward to a few classes and not being alone while trying to work out.

I've been doing research as of late on parenting, church history, and the rightful place of women in the Body, and my paradigms are still shifting greatly.  I'm also dealing with a lot of issues from my past and attempting to move forward.

It's my hope that later on, I can share some of the books I've been reading and some things that have stood out to me from them, in hopes that they may also help someone else. And in the time to come, perhaps I can return a bit to the weekly Torah portions.

Shalom, and thank you for sticking with me.