|The Festival of Lights is almost here! Save the date for our Chanukah celebration for all ages on Sunday, December 17. To sign up to help with the Latke Factory set up and cooking, please click HERE.
We began our fourth class by continuing to work on our jewelry to sell at the Kids’ Shuk at Beit Ahavah’s Chanukah celebration on December 17. I encourage you all to work on a project with your children that they will feel good about having for sale. The proceeds will be donated to a tzedakah, a charity, of their choosing.
As we worked on our jewelry we talked about our Creation and Shabbat lesson from the last class, and then talked about another story from B’reishit, the first book of the Torah. There was a time after the Creation of the World when God looked around and saw people being mean to each other. God was so upset with what was going on that it was like God wanted to hit the reset button on the world and begin again.
God looked around and saw only one good, righteous man, whose name was: Noah. God instructed Noah to build an ark of 300 cubits in length, 50 cubits in width, and 30 cubits in height. A cubit is a Biblical measurement which is the length of a forearm, about 1.5 feet. Then G-d sent a great flood. It rained for 40 days and 40 nights.
After the flood, God made a covenant with Noah to never try to punish the world again with water. God placed a rainbow in the sky to mark the covenant. When we see a rainbow in the sky, it’s sign and reminder from God of our covenant to protect the earth.
We then painted kippot the colors of the rainbow while listening to PJ Library Radio. These kippot will be worn during class going forward. We cover our heads to remind ourselves that God is above us. Hundreds of years ago a man named Joseph Karo wrote a book of laws called the Shulchan Aruch in which he went into great detail about why we cover our heads.
After we set our painting projects aside to dry, we started our Chanukah lesson by reading the story of Chanukah. Students’ discussion sparked a conversation about how both Christian and Jewish holidays coming this month are about how dark it is outside and how this time of year we have holidays based on lights. Those who celebrate Christmas light up a Christmas tree, and those who celebrate Chanukah light a menorah and put it somewhere safe and aglow by a window for all to see and to light in the dark. It’s the Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year, and after that, it starts getting light again. People have always searched for ways to light the darkness of winter, and it’s no accident light is celebrated in our holidays too.
Afterwards, we had a snack which incorporated a lesson of how we set up and light the menorah. Using bananas, frosting and pretzel sticks, we built our edible menorahs, by first loading up the “candles” from RIGHT TO LEFT. Then we ate (or “lit”) our candles from LEFT TO RIGHT like the order for lighting, welcoming the newest candle first with light. Yum. The children already got so good at saying the different food brachot, such as “mezonot” for pretzels and “borei p’re ha-etz” for fruit.
We say two brachot every night of Chanukah, but on the first night we also say a She’hechiyanu, a special brachah (prayer) we say when we do something for the first time, to celebrate the beginning of this wonderful holiday!
After our Chanukah lesson, we joined Rabbi Riqi, our parents and the older RUACH kids to do a special mitzvah, a good deed, by preparing 200 Life Straw water filters with stickers and packing them for their flight and delivery to Puerto Rico to families who still don’t have clean water after Hurricane Maria.
It was another wonderful afternoon with really terrific students. I’m excited to see everyone at next week’s Chanukah Latke Factory party!