Thursday, April 18, 2013



It has been a long time since my last Parsha Projects post. But, lately, I have given some thought to turning the blog into a book. But, I have not felt very motivated to take the necessary steps forward. I realized this morning that besides the usual reasons for lack of motivation and procrastination, I was having trouble getting started because I was not actively engaged in actually doing parsha projects anymore. I realized that I would probably never be inspired to collate the projects that I have already done, if I was not simultaneously working on new ideas and keeping it fresh. I had basically given up on continuing parsha projects at home since adding two little boys and losing the "quiet days" just the two girls in the house. But, now that the baby is five months old, we are entering into a somewhat calmer period and I feel like I can try again. So, here goes. This week's parsha, Achrei Mot-Kedoshim is chock-full of mitzvot, the most famous of which is probably "LOVE your neighbor as yourself." In Hebrew, "veahavta leraech kamocha." This famous adage has a myriad of interpretations. But, I just wanted to focus on the concept of LOVE or AHAVA in Hebrew. I immediately thought of Robert Indiana's famous AHAVA sculpture at the Israel museum in Jerusalem.

This sculpture was originally produced in English and the LOVE design has been reproduced in a variety of formats. It has been recreated in multiple versions, languages and colors, around the world.

I found the image to be very inspiring for a kids' project. Big block letters, bold colors. It seemed especially perfect for my 5 year old daughter Avital since we are currently working with her on learning both her English and Hebrew letters.

Now, I just had to figure out exactly what medium to use. I liked the idea of doing an actual sculpture but that would entail working with styrafoam, wood, or clay - not something I could pull off at the last minute. It would have to be something I could prepare in an hour, with materials I had at home, and with baby in tow.

I looked around for some inspiration...

When the girls came home from school, they were thrilled to hear that we were going to do a parsha project again...finally. I told them that this week's parsha contained the famous pasuk "veahavta lereacha kamocha." We talked a little bit about what that could mean. For Avital it basically boiled down to "Do you like to be pinched? No. So don't pinch others. Do you like to get gifts? Yes. So give gifts to others." The conversation with Maya was a bit more sophisticated. We also spent time on the computer looking at images of the original sculptures. They identified the letters and we talked about how the sculpture was a large square divided into four smalled squares, each filled by one letter. In the end, our project was very simple. They were content to color or paint multiple versions of the words and now we have an outside gallery of LOVE...


Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010



Bereshit is obviously a great parsha for crafting but it seems to get lost in the shuffle of the end of all the chagim. After making Sukkot decorations and Simchat Torah flags, I don't usually have energy or time left for Bereshit. So, we finally got around doing my Bereshit craft this week (even though it was Parshat Vayera!)

I knew I wanted to do a Creation Wheel. I must have seen such a thing at some point in my life because the image was stuck in my head. I found that you could BUY a creation wheel craft at Oriental Trading (that place has EVERYTHING!) but why buy when you can make???

I have been saving cereal boxes because they make great cardboard for all sorts of crafts. For this craft, I just needed a cereal box, paper, glue, markers, and a paper fastener. I had never bought or used a paper fastener before but I knew that they were great for all sorts of projects and that I had to get them in my stash. The only problem is that I had NO IDEA how to say "paper fastener" in Hebrew! Thank G-d for google images. I printed out an image of a paper fastener and brought it to the craft store, yes I did. I showed the guy the picture, told him that it was what I needed and asked him how to say it in Hebrew. Get this - he knew exactly where they were in the store but he couldn't remember how to say it in Hebrew! So, I didn't feel so stupid. A box of paper fasteners in hand, I went home to experiment with a model.

I just cut out two circles from the cereal box (using pot covers to trace). Then, I had to figure out how to equally divide the circle into 7 sections for the 7 days of the week. Here, I got stuck. I needed some kind of geometry compass thing. Or, at least Andy. Since I didn't have either of those, I divided the circle into 8 equal sections instead - much easier - and decided I would live with one extra section (no perfectionism allowed).

I used whatever stickers and paper we had at home to create images for each day.

Then, I cut out a piece from the top circle, covered it with paper, decorated it and attached it with the paper fastener so that it could spin to reveal each day.

Somehow, even with all of my measuring, the wheel was not perfect but it was fine, fine, fine. To keep and use it long-term, I would definitely suggest getting it laminated.

There are pros and cons to having an example project for the girls to see. Pros - they understand what we are trying to make and they get excited to try make their own. Con - it definitely limits their creativity somewhat. Maya really wanted her "triangles" to look just like mine, even though I encouraged her to design them however she wanted.

Maya was pretty much able to cut the circles by herself although the cardboard is a bit thick for kids' scissors:

Yes, they are both wearing ballet outfits. No, they do not go to ballet class. Here is Maya's work in progress:

I was thoroughly surprised and impressed by her new ability to draw a dog! They probably most enjoyed using the star stickers (leftover from Lech Lecha) as earrings:

Maya really loved spinning her final project and going through the days while singing one of our favorite songs "Seven Days" originally recorded by Peter and Ellen Allard and recently recorded by Elana Jagoda

Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, October 21, 2010



Of course, we brought our Parsha Welcome Mat to Israel with us but it is too big for us to use for our front door. Instead, it has found a home at the foot of our kitchen sink. So, we had to make a new one for this week's parsha:



Parshat Lech Lecha "take two".

Encountering the parshiot for a second time, I wasn't sure if I would just do the same projects again with the girls (which they would be perfectly fine with) or if I would "challenge" myself to go bigger and better. I still don't really know but I was motivated to come up with some new ideas for Parshat Lech Lecha.

Parshat Lech Lecha is particularly significant for us this year since it is our first living as a family in Israel. We have done "Lech Lecha!" We have left our homeland and entered the desert (literally). So, I wanted to focus on this aspect of the Parsha - on the journey. My first thought was to do something with footprints. I googled "footprints in sand craft" but all of the projects involved Plaster of Paris which intimidated me, especially since I have no idea what it is called in Hebrew! So, I decided to do something more basic and make painted footprints, something that is apparently done as an activity at baby showers (lefi google)!

The girls were thrilled to do anything with paint since I am typically fearful of this art supply! They especially loved being able to paint their hands and get good and messy...

Although we enjoyed the footprints, I still think that STARS are a great theme from this week's parsha for kids. So, I wanted to come up with a new star project (even though my kids would be perfectly happy just gluing glitter all over the place). In flipping through this craft book that my mother-in-law gave me, I saw an idea for how to make a glitter globe. I LOVE glitter globes! Many glitter globes are really snow globes (made using smashed egg shell pieces, who knew?) so I decided that we would make a star globe instead. I went ahead and tried to make an example before the kids came home. The instructions called for "distilled water." I wasn't sure what that was but Andy said that we had lots of it from our dryer. Perfect. It also suggested adding a drop of glycerin. Again, I wasn't sure what that was but I was sure that we didn't have it so like in cooking, I just left it out. Then, I just added a bunch of big glitter pieces. The real problem was sealing the jar closed. I tried to hot glue gun it but it still leaks.

When Maya came home from school, she desperately wanted to make one too so Andy cleaned out a "schug" jar and we got to work.



We have entered our second year of Parsha Projects. Last year, we started with Lecha Lecha so we missed the colorful opportunities that Parshat Noach provides! So many options for crafts - arks, doves, animals, water. But, I went with the most obvious - rainbows! First, I dyed one bag of pasta. It is so easy and comes out so beautiful! We now have a huge bag of colored pasta that we can use for all sorts of projects - jewelery, mosaics, etc.

Since the girls are pretty into beading, we first made rainbow necklaces:

We had so many noodles that we also made a rainbow just by gluing them onto a piece of cardboard...

As if we did not have enough rainbows around, I was determined to make rainbow cookies for Shabbos. Someone cited this recipe
on Challah Crumb's Facebook page and it looked easy and fun. The first step, dyeing the dough was definitely fun and easy:

But, when it came time to work with the dough, we were in trouble. The dough was just sticky and mushy. It was just a mess, a disaster, a flop. So, as often happens in times like this, Andy stepped in to try to save the day.

He froze the dough which helped a bit but it was still incredible frustrating to work with. We managed to put together some things that sort of looked like rainbows...

I was especially proud of this one that brought back San Francisco memories...

As always, what I considered to be a flop, the girls considered to be a masterpiece!

Friday, August 20, 2010



We are finally in our new home! And, more important, our "stuff" has arrived. And, along with our stuff came the hundreds of BOXES that it was packed in. Andy and I worked like maniacs to unpack everything with the goal of just getting everything OUT of the boxes.

In the midst of all of this, I still wanted to produce a parsha project - both for the girls and for Challah Crumbs. I knew that I wanted to focus on Moshe looking into the land of Israel but I was not sure how I wanted to depict this scene. It was Andy's idea - maybe inspired by the boxes around us - to make a diorama. I wasn't sure what a diorama was (or how to spell it) but I quickly found out that it is basically making any kind of scene using a box. Since I had plenty of those around (but not much else except some scrapbook paper), I got to work.

This is what I came up with...

I added a figure of Moshe looking into the land. The girls had fun folding Moses up and down, alternating between saying "Moses is dead" and "Moses is alive" -

The girls each made dioramas of their own but I let them do whatever they wanted which meant they made...princess castles. Oh well.

Sunday, August 1, 2010



This is our second week of trying to do Parsha Projects under less than ideal circumstances. First of all, it is crazy hot!!! More importantly, we are still unsettled, living out of suitcases, in someone else's space. But, this parsha presented a no-brainer in terms of subject matter. I knew that I wanted to do something with the beautiful mitzvah of "shiluah haken" or sending away the mother bird. I started google-imaging "birds nest craft" and came across the idea of an edible birds nest. There were a number of different versions. I knew the girls would love the kind that seemed to be a popular Easter treat - a bird nest cookie made with Chow Mein noodles. But, alas, no Chow Mein noodles easily accessible in Israel, at least not in the Gush. So, I had to come up with an alternative. I bought a bag of pretzel sticks but I was worried that they would be too thick. Then, in the cereal aisle, I saw bran cereal sticks - they were perfect!

We melted peanut butter and chocolate chips together and mixed in the bran sticks. Then, we just made balls, made an indentation with our fingers in the middle, and stuck them in the freezer to firm up.

At the supermarket, I pondered what to use for the eggs. Most recipes called for white jelly beans. Those were not easy to find around here. But, Israel had lots of alternatives in the candy section - I bought white mentos, tic tacs, and kliks - so we had lots of different tastes, sizes, and shapes of eggs!

Friday, July 30, 2010



This is my first attempt to do a parsha project while living in someone else's house in Israel, without our stuff, feeling very unsettled. My connection to the internet is sketchy. I don't have any of my basic art supplies. And, I am not a car ride away from Michael's! But, thankfully, Israel does have a surprising number of little craft stores. At this point, I limited myself to buying some basic paper and paints. I don't even know what kind of paints I bought, if they are washable, etc, but we will use them outside and they will have to do.

In this week's parsha, there is the prohibition against destroying fruit-bearing trees because "haadam etz hasadeh." We talked about how trees and people are alike and how we have to be kind to both. We made these pretty tree prints using our forearms, hands, and fingers.

On Shabbat, a bunch of kids were whacking a tree and Maya came over to me and whispered in my ear: "They are not being nice to the tree like it says in the Parsha." That's my little Goody Two-Shoes!