Travels In The Land Of Pluralism

22 hours 7 min ago
BY MICHELE CHABIN for The Jewish Week

Expat Israelis give their Sabra kids a lesson in N.Y. style multiculturalism

Last July, for the first time in three years, my husband and I travelled from Israel, where we live, to the U.S. with our two sons.

Although our 14-year-old twins had visited America several times, the previous trips had focused mostly on purely fun outings to amusement parks, 7-Eleven (Slurpees) and Toys R Us.

We wanted this visit to be different, or at least deeper.

Continue reading.

Jewish Summer Camp Guide 2017

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 12:00am
From Moment Magazine

Every child is different. Find the camp that's right for yours!

Plus—an interview with experts on why Jewish Summer Camps are important.

Read about "Where the Stars got their Start" and "A Conversation with JCC Association of North America" plus all about the many experiences available for your child.

Continue reading.

Build a Terrarium for Tu B'Shevat

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 12:00am

In Honor Of Tu B'Shevat Which Is on February 11, We Are Highlighting One Of The activities From Our Tu B'Shevat Resource Kit. You Will Find Many Other ideas, crafts, videos, and recipes. 

From KidsGardening

Overview: A terrarium is a miniature garden grown inside a covered glass or plastic container. It is a low maintenance way to incorporate plants into your classroom or home and an excellent tool for teaching children about the water cycle as it demonstrates evaporation, condensation and precipitation. In the presence of light and heat, water evaporates from the plants through transpiration and from the soil. Since it is an enclosed environment, when the water vapor hits the side of the container, it condenses. Once enough water accumulates or the temperature decreases, the condensation will then precipitate down the sides of the container back into the soil.

Continue reading.

Also, check out our Tu B'shevat board on Pinterest.

5 Ways to Keep a Dead Jewish Grandmother Alive

Mon, 01/30/2017 - 12:00am
Michael Bahler for Kveller 

Arguably the best thing about being Jewish is having a Jewish grandmother, so it makes me very sad that my kids are never going to know my mother, who died when our eldest was 6 weeks old, or my wife’s mother, who passed before we got married.

We want to give our young kids a sense of who their grandmothers were, but we also don’t want to burden them with our sadness or freak them out about death (and have them worry we are about to die).

Trying to strike the proper balance, here’s what we do:

Continue reading.

Why We Went to Israel for My Son’s Bar Mitzvah Instead of Having a Big Party

Mon, 01/23/2017 - 12:00am
By Jordana Horn for Kveller

My oldest son became a bar mitzvah in November. We had a congregational Kiddush luncheon in his honor, and a small party for him and his friends that evening. Instead of having the grand blowout party that seems to be the general expectation in my New Jersey suburb, we opted to go to Israel instead. And it was the best decision I possibly could have made, for these reasons (among others):

Continue reading.

Could Tasty Israeli Snack Be Answer to Peanut Allergies — in America?

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 12:00am
By Naomi Zeveloff The Jewish Daily Forward

American parents should be feeding their babies peanut products to avoid severe allergies later in life — just like the Israelis do.

Israeli consumption of Bamba, Israel’s popular peanut-flavored corn puff snack, is likely the reason that Israeli children have a low incidence of peanut allergies, say health reports.

Continue reading.

The Best Jewish Children’s Books of 2016

Mon, 01/09/2017 - 12:00am
By Marjorie Ingall for Tablet Magazine 

Stories about Noah’s Ark, Jewish weddings, and scientific discovery make perfect Hanukkah gifts

Giving someone a didactic book as a gift is like giving them a Dustbuster. Or a bathroom scale. There’s implicit criticism there, a kind of superior “you require betterment, and I shall better you” messaging that is not very spirit-of-giving. It’s even worse when the recipient of your dull and noble book is a child. Congratulations, you’ve just conveyed to an impressionable youth that reading is a chore and that you are unfun.

Therefore. Here is a collection of giftworthy books that are not only worthy but fun to read. Gifts like these help kids stay readers for life.

Continue reading.

Am I A Terrible Parent for Not Getting My Kids Gifts?

Mon, 12/26/2016 - 12:00am
Maurie Backman for Kveller 

I’m the type of person who has a real problem with clutter. (In fact, I’ve written about it here.) Having a cluttered house doesn’t just irritate me; it makes me feel claustrophobic in my own home. And so with the holidays coming up, I’m already taking steps to clear out space to accommodate the inevitable influx of boxes that’s sure to take over my house.

Continue reading.


With 8 nights, there are lots of fun things you can do with your family. Read more, visit our Hanukkah Holiday Spotlight Kit  

How to Avoid 8 Nights of Unnecessary Hanukkah Gifts

Mon, 12/19/2016 - 12:00am
Maurie Backman for Kveller

Now that Hanukkah is just around the corner, I’m doing my best to prepare by shopping early, searching for the best deals, and clearing out space in my house to accommodate the usual haul of incoming presents.

So let’s talk about those presents for a minute. My kids tend to get a lot of them—too many, if I’m being honest. And since my oldest happens to have a December birthday, the influx of stuff that takes over my already-cluttered house around Hanukkah time is almost unmanageable. Not only that, but the sheer volume of presents is actually overwhelming for my kids, so much so that my family’s generosity almost tends to backfire.

Continue reading.

With Hanukkah just around the corner, find more great ideas in our Hanukkah Spotlight Kit 

Top Ten Hanukkah Songs

Mon, 12/05/2016 - 12:00am
AMY DEUTSCH for Kveller

Maybe it’s the Christmas “competition,” but it seems like there are more songs about Hanukkah than about any other Jewish holiday. And why not? It’s fun and delicious and lasts for eight amazing days. So if the only Hanukkah song you know is “Dreidel Dreidel,” read on.

1. Michelle Citrin, “Left to Right“

In 2008, Michelle Citrin and William Levin created this music video (reminiscent of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company ad from The Office) with help from people across the world who submitted short clips of themselves lighting Hanukkah candles and then passing the candle on to someone else. It’s an awesome video and a catchy and sweet song. And even better, it reminds you which way you’re supposed to light the candles. (I forget every year!)

Continue reading.


With Hanukkah just around the corner, find more great ideas in our Hanukkah Spotlight Kit

Give Children a Safer Searching Experience

Mon, 11/28/2016 - 12:00am

By J. D. BIERSDORFER The New York Times

Q. Children can type sex-related terms into Google and get explicit content, including images. What can be done about this?

A. Google’s SafeSearch filter can block quite a bit of content like pornography from search results, so make sure the feature is turned on. To do this on a desktop browser, go to (The filter is also available in the settings for mobile browsers and the Android and iOS versions of the Google app.)

Continue reading.

Shaboom! Ep 04: Get with the Giving

Mon, 11/21/2016 - 12:00am


Kids & Family

Mensch: upstanding, caring, kind and all-around great people.

Raising Jewish kids? Start their mensch training here.

Is your family ready to talk about giving and tzedakah, which means justice and righteousness?

The Plonys are feeling selfish. The kids fight over their toys, and Papa and Mama can’t seem to take the community charity drive seriously – Papa wants to donate his leftover beans and tuna! ”SHABOOM!” The Sparks magically help the Plonys donate everything they own, from the shirts on their back to all the furniture in the house. Ay yi yi! In the process, the Plonys learn about generosity: giving doesn’t just make us feel good; it’s tzedakah and it’s our important job.

Continue reading.

Nurture the WOW: Spirituality and Parenting

Mon, 11/14/2016 - 12:00am
By Naomi M. Gruer for Hadassah Magazine

In her new book, Nurture the Wow, Conservative Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg explores the mundane and mystical, frustrating and fascinating, physical and philosophical aspects of raising children. Using self-deprecating humor and situations from her own life, Ruttenberg ties the act of parenting to the practice of prayer and spirituality. She also questions preconceived and deeply embedded notions of how to be spiritual. “It’s possible that our kids can be important teachers who help us better find the doorways to the transcendent,” she writes.

Before her first child was born, Ruttenberg prayed the fixed liturgy three times a day. “Then Yonatan was born. My prayer life tanked,” she writes. She asked herself, “Was having a kid going to keep me from accessing the holy?” Ruttenberg describes a harrowing day that culminated in her 1-year-old vomiting during a bath. She was almost out of patience when she prayed, “Help me,” and something amazing happened: “I remembered that I loved him and that I was the grown-up and that we were going to be O.K.”

Continue reading.

How to Explain the Refugee Crisis to Kids

Mon, 11/07/2016 - 12:00am
By Marjorie Ingall for Tablet Magazine  

New children’s books help parents broach a challenging subject

This election season, we’re hearing a lot about how horrible the people who aren’t like us are. Refugees are talked about as rapists, murderers, terrorists, poisoned Skittles. But the photo of a tiny boy in Syria sitting in the back of an ambulance, covered in blood and dust and staring blankly into space, was everywhere. So was the picture of a fully clothed toddler washed up on a beach in Turkey. No matter how we try to protect our own children, they’re seeing images like these. And given our people’s tradition of hachnasat orchim—welcoming visitors—and the just-past holiday of Sukkot’s emphasis on ushpizin (honored guests), and our potent history of fighting for social justice in general, it’s imperative that we explain the refugee crisis to kids.

Continue reading.