This week's parsha has ALOT in it.
These were the topics that I ruled out right away:
1) Laws of the Hebrew Slave
2) Punishments for those who kill, injure, steal, etc.
4) Seduction of a virgin
5) Driving the Canaanites out of the Land
5) Sprinkling blood on the altar
I did briefly consider doing a project about the laws of the goring ox since there are a number of ox projects online because of the Chinese New Year. But, after rereading this section, I decided I didn't think that they needed to learn about killing oxes that kill people...
I then thought about doing something on the important value expressed in this parsha to take care of the widow, the stranger, and the orphan. Although we did discuss this message, it didn't make for an obvious craft.
So, on Friday morning (yes, this was all very last minute!) I decided that we would make Torah scrolls since the end of the parsha explains that Moshe wrote down all of the commandments (presumably in a scroll?). Then, "he took the Book of the Covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, All that the Lord has said will we do, and obey - Naaseh Venishma."
While the girls watched Dora, I Googled "Torah craft." Two similar projects popped up - one Christian and one Jewish. I got a sense from these sites of what I wanted to do but I thought that I would have to make a special trip with the girls to Michael's to get dowels, paper, washers, etc. It was raining out and I wasn't going anywhere for anything. So, I got resourceful and I am proud to say that everything I used for this project was already in the house.
First, I printed the words "Naaseh Venishma" on a regular piece of white printer paper on the landscape setting. I let the girls cut them out so that they were a long strip.
They used water colors to paint over the words to make the paper look more like klaf (parchment). The fact that Maya's tore down the middle made it look even more authentic :).
I already had a printout of how Hebrew letters look in a Sefer Torah because of my work with the current exhibition at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. We discussed which letters had "crowns" and I added them in on the printout.
It dried quickly and I used the glue gun to glue each side to wooden skewers that I broke in half for the "eitzim." The final touch was picking four beads to glue onto each of the sides. Avital spent most of the time just playing with the beads which is by far one of her favorite pastimes, as you can see by her designer necklace.
From the same bead set, we just cut a string to tie up each of the Torahs.
Since we were going away for shabbat, I wanted them to have something to carry the Torahs in. We found a jewelery box and a sachet bag that made perfect cases.
The jewelery box makes for a nice little aron kodesh.
The girls were very proud of their little Torahs and held them throughout the weekend. Some of these projects end up in the trash but this one is a keeper.
I am gearing up for the mishkan...