Sunday, February 21, 2010



Here we go... the Mishkan! The parshiot we have all been dreading, I mean, waiting for!

The truth is that this was actually one of the easier Parshiot to come up with a project since the Mishkan and its vessels are themselves artistic designs.

Before we started our project, we looked at lots of visual examples of the Mishkan and its vessels. First, we did the coloring pages from Aish which had nice illustrations of the mishkan, the menorah, the aron, etc. We also looked at the photos in Olam Hatanach from this week's parsha.

We also watched the g-dcast for this week's parsha which is always enjoyable and educational. It is particularly fun when, like this week, we actually know the narrator!

I basically explained to the girls that the mishkan was a portable kind of shul. I did not mention anything about the altar or the sacrifices since I have no idea how to explain killing animals as a form of worship to a four year old.

I was a little uneasy about doing an actual model of the Mishkan. There are actually tons of (mostly Christian) Model Tabernacle kits out there.

It is amazing how Christian things sounds when you translate them. The "Mishkan" is Jewish; the "Tabernacle" is very Christian. Anyway, even making a model of the "Mishkan" reminded me a little too much of The Temple Institute.

So, I settled on making just an aron. I was giving a "grown-up" shiur on Shabbos about the Keruvim so it was on my mind anyway.

I spent 30 minutes at Michael's and bought everything that was gold, sparkly, and cheap. I came home with gold glitter paint, gold foil candy wrappers, gold pipe cleaners, gold ribbon, and gold sticky beads. I also bought a wooden jewelery box for $1.00 and we were ready to go.

Of course the girls loved painting with the glitter paint but it was messy, looked more yellow than gold, and did not dry quickly (all things that did not phase the children, only the mother).

Then, it was time to decorate. By this point, I had lost Avital. The sticky beads became her earrings, the candy wrappers were stuffed inside her box, and the pipe cleaners were wrapped around her wrists. I guess this was not really a two-year old friendly project. Maya was mostly patient and interested as we used the glue gun to attach the poles and decorations.

During the week, I discovered a website called Naaseh VeNilmad which sells lapfolders (lapbooks are apparently the hot thing in the homeschooling world) for teaching Parshat Hashavuah. In the lapfolder for Parshat Terumah, they included a design for a Mishkan cake that I desperately wanted to make this week. I even bought all of the ingredients but I accidentally thought that candle-lighting was at 5:56 instead of 5:36 and we ran out of time. I had a tantrum (yes, me, not the toddler) but Andy reminded me that there will be many upcoming Parshiot for which a Mishkan cake will work. :)

Ok, on to Purim...


  1. Hi Emily, Elisha here from Double Portion

    Good to hear from you. We met at the last Independent Minyan Conference in Brookline, MA (my husband and I were chairing Minyan Tehillah in Cambridge at the time).

    Your blog makes me want to go back to teaching - very fun and creative projects - your girls must love it.

  2. In terms of explaining the sacrificing of the animals, I just told the kids that it was to send presents up to G-d. I told them that they burned the presents and the smoke traveled upwards and helped bring it to Him. (No one asked why it needs to go up if we had just sang that "Hashem is everywhere!")