Nisan 5771 [email protected]
Written by Nechama Retting, Director of Education for Shlock Rock
Welcome to Shlock Rock Educator’s Newsletter Volume 27. Our goal is to give you some new ideas for teaching about Mitzvot & Middot, Torah, Israel and the Holidays. Visit our website at www.shlockrock.com, click on Educators Corner to view our back issues.
Adult Learning: This month we will learn about the Mezuzah. The word mezuzah literally means doorpost. Inside the mezuzah is a parchment which contains 4 parts of the Kriat Shema. A Sofer (scribe) writes on parchment or klaf, just like the Torah is written on kosher parchment. The parchment for a Mezuzah should also be a kosher parchment. Devarim 6:4-9 and Devarim 11:13-21 are the texts where it tells us to “inscribe the words (of the Shema) on our doorposts…” It is also derived from when the Jewish people were slaves in Egypt; during the last plague were told to paint around their door frames to protect their homes – great Pesach tie in!! A mezuzah is also protection for our Jewish homes. It’s a visual reminder that Hashem is always with us, protecting us each day. It is traditional to have a “Shin” on the mezuzah and some mezuzot (plural for Mezuzah) also have the letters “Shin Dalet Yud” which stands for: “Shomer Daltot Yisrael” (Guardian of Israel’s doors). This is also an acronym for one of Hashem’s names. It is traditional to kiss the mezuzah as you enter or exit a room. As you enter, the mezuzah is placed on the right side of the door about 1/3 from the top, at an angle pointing into the room. Some schools choose to place an additional mezuzah lower on the door frame for people in wheel chairs or for children to reach.
Suggested Shlock Rock Songs: "We'll be Kissing the Mezuzah" and "Shema" from the CD Shlock Rock for Kids Volume 1, "613 Mitzvot" from the CD Shlock Rock for Kids Sing Together, "Blessed is God" from the CD Lenny and the Shlockers "Baruch Hagever" and "Hashem in One" from GH 2, "Prayer Jumping" from Shlock Rock Meets the Prophets, "Turn to God" from God Sent Us Email and "Modeh Ani Now" from To Unite All Jews. To hear the songs, click here: kids songs , original songs, parody songs and Hebrew songs then click on the CD, then the song you want to hear. You can download songs to your computer or MP3 player and burn a CD for only $.99-$1.25 per song just click HERE.
Suggested Activities to try with your students or family:
For Ideas for teaching about Pesach click here.
Craft: Have each child create a mezuzah. Here are various ways to do that:
· You can also create mezuzot using Bakeable or air dry clay wrapped around a tube or larger pencil (see next point).
· Florist tubes that come on the end of individual flowers
· Dry cleaner hanger tubes (that cover the hanger) cut into 6 inch pieces
· Fax paper rolls cut into 6 inch pieces
· Go to a hardware store and buy ¾ round and cut it so it is about 6-8 inches long
· Party supply stores and some craft stores sell shot vials (they are intended for doing “shots” at parties) that are colorful plastic tubes
· Recycle markers. When your markers are dried up, open the bottom of the marker, remove the ink (which can be put into some water to make watercolor paints!), and use the outside and cover as your mezzuzah.
Decorate your mezuzot using any form of medium you desire: paint, glitter, markers, Wikki sticks, clay, stickers, etc…Then either make a plug for the top using clay or purchased wooden plugs from a craft store. Inform families where they can purchase a kosher parchment, or klaf (most Judaica shops sell them or you can go to www.mezuzah.biz for kosher parchments from Israel) to go inside the mezuzah case. Instruct parents to cover the parchment with plastic wrap and then if the back side of the mezuzah is open, cover it with tape; affix the Mezuzah to the door using double sided tape or small nails. Each time you pass the mezuzah, remember to kiss it!
If your classroom doesn’t have a mezzuzah, than have your class make one together and buy a kosher klaf from the website above. Invite parents to a classroom dedication ceremony. Remember to say the bracha when you hang it up (the blessing starts the same way the blessing for Shabbat candles or Chanukah candles until you get to the word “Vitzivanu”): “Baruch Atah…….Vitzivanu likboa Mezzuzah.”
Project: Write like a Sofer (scribe) who writes the parchment for a Mezzuzah. Use a feather quill (available at craft stores – cut part of the tip off to make a flat surface) and black paint to paint on paper. The children could try and write their names in English or Hebrew, practice writing Hebrew letters, or try to write the word Shema in English or Hebrew. שְׁמַע
Math Activity: Take a trip around the building and count how many Mezzuzot you can find. Create a graph showing how many had a “Shin” on them and how many did not. They could also make a drawing or sketch of their favorite mezzuzah they find. If you are housed in a Synagogue, don’t forget to check out the gift shop for lots of interesting mezuzot from lots of different places!
Game: Create a game using Judaica objects such as:
A menorah, mezzuzah, Kiddush cup, dreidel, candle, kipah, etc….
· You can do a “What’s missing?” game by showing each item and placing them into a pillow case. Then remove an item (without them seeing) and allow children to figure out what’s missing.
· You can make a “Feely Box” and place the items into a box that is closed but has a hand sized hole on the side to feel the objects so each child can try and guess what each item is.
Activity: If you are housed in a synagogue or have an area Judaica shop, ask to borrow a few (non breakable!) mezuzot for a Mezuzah Museum that the children can explore. Maybe you can also get a local Judaica shop to offer a discount to your school families to purchase mezuzot and kosher parchments.
Movement: Choose one of the Shlock Rock songs suggested above and do a freeze dance or dance with scarves. Choreograph a dance to one of the songs like Baruch Hagever. So much fun!
You can also have your students lay on the floor to create the shape of the letters “Shin Mem Ayin” to spell out the word Shema. The letter “Shin” could use 3-4 children to make that one letter, this way you can include everyone. Take digital photos of each letter and hang them in your classroom near the classroom mezzuzah. You could also do the letters for Shin, Dalet, Yud (for Guardian of Israel’s doors).
Book: A Mezzuzah on the Door by Amy Meltzer
***Please feel free to share this newsletter!! If you know someone who wants to be added to the list have them email me at [email protected]. To see our back issues go to www.shlockrock.com and click on Educators Corner ***