Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Question From Der Ewige Jude

Tikkun Leil Shavuous - 1855, Zhitomir

Dear Friend,

It is currently a little less than two weeks until Shavuot, or the cheesecake holiday as it is called here. As you have several small children I was curious as to how you make the celebration meaningful for them. All the other holidays have some interactive, or passive participatory aspect: dwelling in the succah, listening for the shofar, searching for the afikomen, lighting the menorah, etc. When Shavuot was reconfigured from a pilgrimage festival with the offering of the first fruits, to a celebration of the receiving of the Torah, the participatory aspects were lost. Whereas I might attempt to stay up for 36 hours and spend the night learning, attempting any such activity with the Little Rebbetzin would, in my opinion, be the height of folly. So aside from the consumption of the afore mentioned cheesecake, and an explanation of what the holiday is about, what do you do with the kinder to make it something special and exciting for them?

Your friend,

Der Ewige Jude

Question for readers: What advice do you have for Der Ewige Jude?


At May 10, 2007 at 12:21:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At May 10, 2007 at 12:52:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

In the week's leading up to Shavuous, the curriculum in my two older children's nursery school revolves around this Yom Tov. It culminates on Shavuous day when all the children in the shul are called up to the front during to hear the Ten Commandments as a symbolic gesture to show that the children are the Torah's guarantors.

Aside from this, every year my father-in-law comes over before Yom Tov and prepares cheese blintzes using the same fatty recipe that his Polish-born mother once used. The kids pull their chairs up next to him and help him out as well.

At May 10, 2007 at 11:58:00 PM EDT, Blogger Neil Harris said...

Good question. Just last week (Parshas Emor) in Rav Gifter's sefer Pirkei Torah (available from Artscroll in English w/the same title) he actually discusses the chinuch aspects of all the Yom Tovim. He says that Shavuos is the time to discuss the importance of Z'man Torasaynu-when we got the Torah. I try to do whatever I can with my kids during dinner Shavuos night. My kids are 7 months, almost 5 yrs, and 7 1/2 yrs old.

With my 5 yr old we'll read her questions from pre-school and go over the alef-beis that she has learned. Probably sing "Torah tziva La'nu, as well. I plan to go over what my 7yr old son has learned about the Yom Tov and review what has has learned so far in Chumash. Then I put the kids to sleep and go learn the night away.

The best message to give, in my opinion, is that just we are excited to receive the Torah, learn Torah, and apply Torah on Shavuos night, it's got to be the same way every day.

You might like reading this...

At May 11, 2007 at 1:04:00 AM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

every year my father-in-law comes over before Yom Tov and prepares cheese blintzes using the same fatty recipe that his Polish-born mother once used.
Aha! Just as I suspected! I knew there had to be some Poilisher blood in there somewhere!
Actually - me too. That is, my father's parents were from Galicia, my Mom's folks from Russia; but [saving grace!] my wife's parents are from Radom, central Poland. I actually figured that a cross between a Galitzianer & Russian somehow end up as a Poilisher!
Sorry for the aside, but I couldn't resist!


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