Hanukkah Themed Nights

Hanukkah games

In our family, we want to tone down any hint of mad gift-giving at Hanukkah. We failed a bit last year, so we’re rethinking for this year. Hanukkah starts Saturday, December 24th.  Our daughter is now contemplating how to do themed nights, where the presents lead to family fun activities – focusing on togetherness vs. on getting loot. Since we are a games-loving group, this should be very doable. Calendar Night It is my tradition to create personalized calendars for our little boys. So we will plan a calendar night, where the calendars will be that night’s presents. To expand the calendar … [Read more...]

Hanukkah Fun Buys

Looking to jazz up your home for Hanukkah? Here are a few pieces of Judaica that make me smile. The first candle of Hanukkah is Saturday, December 24th. Pop Art Dreidels  I discovered Rabbi Yitzchok Moully’s pop art collection at a recent URJ convention. What struck me immediately is the strong use of bold, vibrant colors. Several of the pieces are specifically holiday-themed, including the dreidel art (with a stack of gelt in the lower right-hand corner), hamentashen art (with one bagel half in the lower right-hand corner!), and apple art (with honey in the lower right-hand … [Read more...]

Inspiration for Sukkot Fun

building the Sukkah

Sukkot 2016 starts the evening of Sunday, October 16th. I love fall, nature, excuses to be outside, and autumn harvest foods. So it’s no wonder that I love Sukkot. If you don’t have the luxury of being able to build your own sukkah, there are still 100s of ways to celebrate. To inspire you, here are just a few: Colorful Sukkot Recipes Apple Cider Glazed Sweet Potatoes Easy Roasted Red Pepper Soup from kosherlikeme.com   Mini-Sukkah Crafts Build a Mini Sukkah for Sukkot  from Tori Avey Instant Edible Sukkah from BibleBeltBalabosta   More Family-Friendly … [Read more...]

Building Anticipation for Sukkot

Building a sukkah

“Is It Sukkot Yet?” is a brand new hard cover book by Chris Barash, pictures by Alessandra Psacharopulo designed for young children, 3-6. With a focus on all the senses, the story uses an echoing of the phrase, “Sukkot is on its way,” as it shares the tale of a family in a pastoral setting getting ready for the holiday. With lovely stylized images on each page – from gardens and fences, to trees and birds, squirrels and dogs, wagons, and so on, the color palette is all about fall, with lots of reds, oranges, browns, greens, golds. Because of the short amount of copy on each page (some of … [Read more...]

Helping Kids Understand Tashlich

Rosh Hashanah tradition

One of my new Rosh Hashanah books broaches territory that is more complicated than eating apples dipped in honey. [For a good Rosh Hashanah book for younger children, read our blog about Sammy Spider's First Rosh Hashanah.] “New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story,” was written by April Halprin Wayland, illustrated by Stephane Jorisch. The story helps young readers understand the basics of the ceremony of Tashlich, from the perspective of Izzy who is sorry for several of his transgressions from the past year. It’s easy for him to admit to three: drawing on Miriam’s forehead, … [Read more...]