Sunday, September 25, 2011

High Holy Days - Judaism/Jewishness Theme Week

In celebration of the High Holidays and Jackson's Jewish heritage, I'm planning a Judaism/Jewishness theme week. Overall, I plan to focus on Rosh Hashanah more than Yom Kippur because (a) Rosh Hashanah is this week and Yom Kippur starts Oct. 7, and (b) "Jewish New Year" is easier to explain to a toddler than "Day of Atonement."


Our daily read-aloud will be "Wake Up and Beat the Drums" from Ten Holiday Jewish Children's Stories by Barbara Goldin, illustrated by Jeffrey Allon, and our poems will be "The World's Birthday" and "Blowing the Shofar" from Milk and Honey: A Year of Jewish Holidays by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Louise August. We'll do these every day through the week, as I think the repetition can help cement and enrich the learning experiences. (During bathtime tonight Jackson seemed to know what fall was, so maybe fall theme week had an impact!)


If the kiddo tolerates it (and I highly doubt he will) I might read abbreviated versions of the explanations about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur from Jewish Holidays All Year Round, by Ilene Cooper, illustrated by Elivia Savadier.


1. MONDAY: We'll plant a tree in celebration of the new year (Rosh Hashanah). Mostly I just need to plant a tree in a certain spot in the backyard sooner rather than later, but hey, let's claim it's symbolic. Meanwhile, digging in the dirt should be fun for all parties concerned.

2. TUESDAY: If all goes according to plan, we'll hit the baby reading hour at the Slavin Family Library and the Zimmer Children's Museum at the Jewish Federation Building on Miracle Mile. No lie, one of the reasons I was stoked to marry my husband is because he's Jewish, and the Jews are the people of the book, and I am the people of the book. Which is to say, I don't know a lot of other ethnic groups in L.A. that have their own libraries set up, but the Jews do, gosh darn it, and that's one of the many reasons they rock. P.S. This event may be canceled on account of Obama-related traffic, but we'll see.

3. WEDNESDAY: Rosh Hashanah officially begins Wednesday night, so we'll do the apples and honey (in hopes of a sweet new year) on this day.

4. THURSDAY: I aspire to make Smitten Kitchen's challah recipe. Apparently on Rosh Hashanah the challah should be round not braided, which is great, because the bread alone intimidates me, much less the braiding.

5. FRIDAY: I think on Friday I'm going to keep it simple and make a glitter bottle for Jackson with some symbolic trinkets (stars of David, etc.) that I'm hoping to find at Michael's or the Dollar Store. I can't say that things like sensory tubs or glitter bottles are particularly educational, but they're fun for me to make, and hopefully fun for Jackson to read.

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