What Do You Look for in Children’s Books?

Little Girl Reading

With Hanukkah around the corner, I start thinking about little gifts for our grands – which always include some books. I picked up two at our town’s charming independent bookstore, where the covers seemed to shout “pick me, pick me!” For our little guy, I got Ball by Mary Sullivan, a Theodore Geisel Honor Book. It’s got one word. Yes, you guessed it! The illustrations carry the story of the dog who yearns for someone to toss the ball for him – and gets creative when he can’t find a buddy to help him out. For our older toddler, I got Who’s Next Door? by Mayuko Kishira, illustrated by … [Read more...]

Re-imagine a More Joyful Shabbat at Home – Down-to-Earth Ideas for Your Family

Is a tiara part of your Shabbat celebration? It could be. (See* below.) How about pizza? Yup, that, too. We all live such busy lives. What a gift it would be to “use” Shabbat to unplug and be more present with our families! As we move past the High Holidays, and as the darkness falls faster, the twinkling lights of Shabbat candles are more welcome – and welcoming – than ever. “Celebrate Shabbat” e-guide for less than $1 Until the end of October, we are offering our downloadable “Celebrate Shabbat: How to Create Joyful Home Traditions” for just $.99 using code OCTOBERSHABBAT at … [Read more...]

No Sukkah? No Worries.

Donate a portion of your garden's vegetables to a local food pantry.

Huge thanks to Jane Larkin for this wonderful post! See her bio below.  Judaism is filled with many rituals and symbols that connect us to Jewish life past and present. But while beautiful, these traditions can also hinder our observance by making an absence of the right “equipment” an easy excuse for not celebrating certain holidays. Sukkot is one celebration that falls into this category. It’s joyous and fun. It’s also important. We’re commanded by the Torah to celebrate it. But many non-Orthodox Jews don’t because there are significant “barriers to entry.” Most homes don’t own a … [Read more...]

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...]