New Fruit Plus Old Crumbs for Rosh Hashanah

Water for Tashlich

My husband and I experimented with a CSA (community supported agriculture) this year for the first time. It was like getting a surprise box every week. In our second CSA, we pulled out something we’d never seen before.  So next time I Skyped with our grandsons, I told them, “We got a mystery vegetable in our box this week! We have no idea what it is.” Our 4-year-old, puzzled, asked, “Not even Grandpa?” Well, there’s a world in that answer! Surely, Grandpa knows everything. Even he doesn’t know what it is? Turned out, it was kohlrabi. And we really liked it. Discovery in a new … [Read more...]

Planting the Seeds of Jewish Tradition

Apples-CrateIMG_7187-smaller

As we move toward Rosh Hashanah, we are drinking in the last bits of summer. Where we live, we can see the occasional leaf turning yellow or red. Often, the Jewish calendar enhances our appreciation of this shift from one season to the next. Encourage your young explorers A simple way to celebrate the movement toward Rosh Hashanah is to go for a stroll in a nearby park, looking for little signs of fall. Here is a lovely recollection of one Mom's experience doing just that with her little boy: “This week my toddler and I discovered (and rediscovered) the joy of crunching through … [Read more...]

Playing Games Brings Families Closer

Rosh Hashanah Bingo

My husband comes from serious games-playing people. On my first visit there, we played no-holds-barred contract gin. Coming from my small, quiet family, I found it overwhelming. But I liked it. So when we had children, it seemed natural to incorporate family games from a very young age. Our version of contract gin was more restrained. We take turns. We do not slap at the cards. But we are very serious and competitive, through the laughter and loud music. When our girls were young elementary school age, I sketched out our first version of Hanukkah Bingo onto pieces of cardboard. As … [Read more...]

What Makes a Dessert Jewish?

Rugelach - Yum!

I’m a big fan of a monthly magazine called Our State, all about North Carolina – a wonderful home for our family for 16 years. Their February cover set up the challenge “Pie vs. Cake.” Proponents of each side argued their cases for which makes the greatest slice of all time. That reminded me of the latke vs. hamentaschen debates – so popular that they have their own Wikipedia entry! And it made me ponder “what are typically Jewish desserts?” As a child, the only time I had pie was when my Mom had us pick sour cherries from our cherry tree and she made wonderful cherry pies.  So, for me, … [Read more...]

4 Ways to Teach Preserving the Earth

Growing Beans

I was one of those lucky kids who grew up playing outside – in the woods behind Linda’s house, along the creek far away from anyone’s house, on the hills we rode to on our bikes. That sense of freedom and joy of being outdoors continued at Jewish summer camps. On kibbutz picking pears. Camping with my husband and kids. And now, walking in parks with our grandkids. So I love discovering programs that take “Judaism back to nature,” like Wilderness Torah. Adamah.  B'naiture.  Outdoor Jewish Adventures. Jkidphilly – introducing Jewish values When I read about jkidphilly.com’s latest program … [Read more...]