Sunday, May 16, 2010



It feels good to start a new sefer! I feel relieved and re-energized by starting Sefer Bamidbar. This parsha has lots of lists and numbers but it also introduces us to the concept of the 12 tribes and the design of the encampment in the desert which is fun and interesting.

The girls were already familiar with the concept of the 12 sons from Parshat Vayetze so I now wanted to introduce them to the concept of the twelve tribes that ultimately descended from those original twelve. The word "tribe" was surprisingly tough to explain to Maya - I used lots of metaphors like family, group, etc. We looked at pictures of how the Machane (camp) was laid out. I mainly used this one that I found in the text of a dvar torah on Bar Ilan's website by Gabi Cohen:

Then, we moved onto flag making. I found these great little images of the tribes' symbols. We simply colored them in, cut them out, and attached them onto toothpicks.

This made for a great project but I also wanted to demonstrate where the tribes were situated. In a stroke of genius, I realized that muffin tins contain the magic number 12! I was going to make cupcakes with frosting but since we always have rotting bananas laying around, we made chocolate chip banana muffins instead (at least they sound healthier)

When the muffins were cool, we placed three muffins (we pretended they were tents!) to the North, three to the South, three to the West, and three to the East.

Finally, we put our flags into our muffin-tents.

I am not always thrilled with how our projects turn out, but this one was definitely a winner. As always, the best part of the project for the kids was EATING it!


  1. Hey Emily, can you give out a little more of your secrets? Where did you find the symbols for all of the 12 tribes?

  2. oh I absolutely LOVE this idea! just found this blog and am enjoying it to bits-
    feel free to checkout what we are doing on our end of the world!