Saturday, December 08, 2007

Festival Notes: Purim Activities, Crafts, Books

Here is what I started months ago. The links may or may not work. I still haven't figured out how to get blogger links to work in my posts. Enjoy!:

It is a tradition to make food packages for at least 2 people on this day.

I found some books recommended on one page, and our library has them! I don't know if they are good or not, so this is not a recommendation. Always read things yourself before reading them to your kids!
Esther's Story, Diane Wolkstein and Juan Winjngaard (the library has it in audio form too!)
Purim Play, Roni Schotter, Marylin Hafner
Cakes & Miracles: A Purim Tale, Barbara Diamond Goldin
Festival of Esther: The Story of Purim, Maida Silverman
Make noise, make merry: The story and meaning of purim, Miriam Chaikin (90 pgs, for older kids)
The mystery bear: A Purim Story, Leone Adelson
On Purim, Cathy Goldberg Fishman

Queen Esther saves her people / Rita Golden Gelman
Queen Esther the morning star : the story of Purim / Mordicai Gerstein.

Here are some crafts for Purim use:
Kids Craft Weekly - princess
Milk Carton Grogger - Use a 1/2 pint or pint paper carton from milk or orange juice. Rinse inside and out and let dry. Fill with small beans enough to make some noise. Tape shut. Decorate the outside with construction paper, tissue paper, foam art sheets what ever. Popular designs are of course: Kings with cotton ball beards and Queens with Foil paper crowns. But you can even make a man with Triangle Black Hat for the bag guy. (We don't want to say his name!)
Plastic cup grogger: Grogger can be made from any container filled with unpopped popcorn or beans. Two plastic cups, face to face, filled with corn or beans, and taped together, works well.
Shrinky Dink art (you can buy it, or I've heard you can use #6 plastic), jewlery, kings, queens
Origami Haman's Hat

Festival Notes 6: Purim

This last year was the first time I had even heard of Purim. I don't think I even really got it until I was there. It is a lighthearted festival really, but it is a serious story. Other then the local gathering to read Esther and dressing up, I am unsure of how to make this a part of our life. Here comes some research!

  • Translation: "lots," for Haman's superstitious casting of lots to pick the right day to destroy God's people
  • Biblical name: same, Purim
  • Reference: Esther 9:17
  • Jewish Date: 14 Adar (12th month, this is a leap month, so when that occurs, Purim is celebrated during the 2nd month of Adar, a month before Passover)
  • Gregorian Date (2008): March 21 (sunset 20th to sunset 21st) [from]
  • Sabbath? No, but tradition goes that in honor of the celebration, it shouldn't be an ordinary day
  • Festival Traditions:
    • Be joyful
    • No mourning or fasting (except the day before, to commemorate Esther's 3 day fast)
    • Read entire book of Esther as a congregation
    • Wear costumes
    • Games and prizes (this might just be at our congregation :0)
    • Ashkinazic Jewish traditional food: hamentaschen, little 3 cornered p0cket pastries depicting Haman's hat
I think this is a pretty straight forward festival. All you have to do is read the book of Esther to know what it is about. But I like that the Jewish people make a point to celebrate the times God has delivered them. They even have a day that they remember The Holocost. Actually, I read at that it is a tradition to have a Purim Katan, or little purim, on any day where a community was saved from "a catastrophe, destruction, evil or oppression." To remember the triumphs of God, and to remember that it is He, not we, that overcomes this world, that is something to hold onto.

A while ago in an adult sunday school class, we were discussing how to prepare kids for the evil they could experience should we come under severe persecution (the class was on Islam and their "love" for the Jewish people and the followers of HaShem). While there is no way to really prepare, especially when we have never been through anything remotely like persecution, I think each parent can make sure that stories of God's triumph and protection of His people, such as Esther, are stories their kids know. And know well. Even if we perish, we know He will redeem His people from the hand of the enemy. He has done it over and over, and made sure it was recorded. Hey, remember, He already won The Battle! In Yeshua, our soul finds rest. The rest will perish someday anyway.

I think it would be fun to create costumes each year (if not new ones, additions to the old), make the little pastries, and make the story come alive for kids. It could even be a good time to go through the history of the persecution of the Jews, biblical and afterwards. Maybe reading through the story in the week before would be good, as hearing it all in one day is a bit overwhelming for adults, let alone kids. That way when it came time to the community reading, they can anticipate the booing and cheering, and maybe reflect on the meaning of the story. God preserves His people, whether we can see Him in action or not.

Festival Notes 5: Hanukkah traditions

So, with Teeny Tiny being a bit over 1 year old and just finding out Baby #2 is on his or her way, I am feeling frustrated with myself. Yet another holiday is halfway over, and I have done very little.

My Favorite and I sat down a few days before Hanukkah started and discussed what we could do. It was a conversation filled with my tears over the emotions I have with letting go of Santa and Christmas trees. The bottom line for me, I know what they stand for and I desire to honor HaShem more then my memories. But my memories are so strong! And they are attached to my family, who completely don't understand any of this. Nor will they unless Ha Shem grants them sight. Please Father!

That was a Friday ago. Hanukkah started Tuesday, and the worst flood that has ever hit this area came Monday. Since we evacuated our home near noon Monday and weren't able to get back in until Wednesday, I am trying not to be so hard on myself. I'm sure pregnancy hormones are not helping. Baruch HaShem, our house is fine. A little water under, a little water in the garage, but whole pumpkins still sitting on the porch. Did I mention I'm a little behind this year?!

Here are some ideas we had and/or gathered:
  • Creating 8 envelopes with different activities for each night (from
    • Reading books from the library
    • Only eating potato latkes and special donuts during this week
    • Making decorations the day before or the first day of hanukkah
    • Making menorah cards for our home group (we did this last year and hope to make it a tradition)
    • Inviting friends and/or family
    • Dreidel:
      • I thought it might be fun to earn gelt in the days or weeks leading to Hanukkah by family members noticing the things one another do right/good/well. Not sure how this would work with the idea of not doing things to be seen...but it is a work in progress
    • A scripture a day maybe?
We would like to home school our children, so these envelopes could have a scripture reading, a fun book reading, a craft, a good deed, and a food per day. Maybe a game. Some things we do as a family when my Favorite gets home, others to do throughout the day. Does that show how ignorant I am of what is possible or sane to accomplish in one day? :0)