Friday, June 25, 2010



Crafting a red heifer (or a parah adumah) seems like the most obvious idea from this week's parsha, especially after seeing Julie Seltzer's parah adumah challah! But, I couldn't imagine trying to explain the concepts of tumah and taharah as they relate to this ritual!

So, instead, we focused on another weird animal story in the parsha. Its short, so I will just quote the whole thing here:

And G-d sent poisonous snakes among the people, and they bit the nation, and many perished of the people of Israel. And the people came to Moshe, and they said, “we have sinned, because we spoke against G-d and against you; pray to G-d that He take away from us the snakes.” And Moshe prayed on behalf of the nation. And G-d said to Moshe, “make for yourself a snake and put it on a pole, and it will be that anyone bitten will see it, and live.” And Moshe made a copper snake (nachash nechoshet), and set it on a high pole, and it was that if a snake bit a man, and he stared at the copper snake, that he lived. Numbers 21:6-9

The most obviously problematic aspect of this passage is that the copper snake seems kinda idolatrous-y, no? Well, apparently, as long as the command to fashion objects out of precious metals comes directly from God - like the Keruvim - then it is not avodah zara.

So, it was snakes for us instead of cows. I found this VERY easy and fun way to make snakes. All you need is a cheap paper plate. My original plan was to make just the copper snake but that didn't go so well. First of all, I didn't have any copper-colored anything. So, I used the leftover gold glitter paint that we had (close enough). But, I was impatient and didn't wait for it to dry so it was a big mess but you can get the idea...

Then I decided that this project was so easy that we should just make a whole bunch of snakes, poisonous and all. I realized that the easiest thing to do is to use markers when the paper plate is still intact and THEN cut it in a spiral shape. The results are really cute:

We made and hung lots of snakes and they are still up in our dining room. And, now I have a package of paper plates that are great for puppets, masks, etc.

I was very excited to see another "mama" do this parsha project over at Adventures in Mama-Land - yay!



Yes, I am a little behind schedule. But, it is not because we haven't been doing Parsha Projects around here. Lehefech - just the opposite. We have been all Parsha, all the time. Between working for g-dcast and helping out at Challah Crumbs, there seems to be only so much time I can dedicate to thinking, writing, and crafting about the Parsha. So, actually working with my own kids on Parsha has suffered a bit - mainly in my taking the time to photograph their works in progress, which of course I think is the best part of this blog!

My first idea for this week's parsha was to somehow recreate the earth swallowing up Korach and his followers. Some kind of volcano or earthquake science project? But, I decided (once again) that this wasn't one of the narratives I was jumping to tell my kids.

So, instead I focuses on a brief episode in the Parsha in which Aaron's rod of staff, representing the holy tribe of Levi, "puts forth buds, produced blossoms, and bore ripe almonds (Bamidbar 17:8). My kids already think of staffs as very biblical objects - they associate them with Pharaoh and Moses.

Making the staff was SUPER easy. I just used electrical tape to wrap two paper towel rolls and attach them together:

Then, I glued on pink tissue paper flowers and leaf and almond shapes cut out of foam paper.

It came out very pretty and it now lives in the playroom where the girls use it in various forms of dress-up and make believe.

In retrospect, I might have chosen to use real leaves, flowers, and almonds to decorate the rod. That certainly would have expanded the project since we could have spent time collecting these things outside. But, on the other hand, such a project would have been trashed by now...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010



Two public service announcements:
1) I have added a sidebar that lists the entries from this blog according to CRAFT which I think is a nifty idea.
2) I have received a very nice shout-out from homeshuling. Thank you!

This week's parsha is all about the 12 spies being sent into the Land of Israel to check it out. Basically, the Land gets mixed reviews. I assume that the timing of this parsha with the controversial news now coming out of Israel will be the source for many a Rabbi's sermon this week.

This parsha is especially relevant for our family since we are moving to Israel this summer. In addition, we feel somewhat like "scouts" on behalf of other American families who we hope will join us in building a new community in the Negev. (Please come!!!)

So, I wanted to make a map of Israel with the girls this week. A long time ago, I had flipped through Rosie O'Donnel's book Crafty U at Barnes and Noble (no, I didn't buy it) and came across this project and it had stuck with me ever since. So, one sleepless night (there are many of those nowadays), I decided that I would use dried beans and the like to design the map of Israel.

I did a trial run of this without the kiddos since I had to get the idea into Challah Crumbs and I wanted to experiment a bit.

First, I tried to figure out what I could use for the blue of the waters. When I came up empty, I decided that I would have to dye or paint the food items. Having no idea how to do this - guess what - I googled. I learned that the best method for dyeing dried pasta is to put the pasta in a big ziploc, add a few drops of food coloring, and one teaspoon of rubbing alcohol. Priding myself in actually possessing (and locating) all of those items in my home, I tried it and it worked easily and perfectly. I dyed white rice blue and Israeli couscous (I thought that was a cute touch) green.

I then cut up an old Huggies diaper box as my base.

I drew an outline of the map of Israel - copying from images that I found online.

Then, I just starting gluing section by section...

...until, walla -

I was surprised and thrilled by how it came out. The girls freaked out when they saw that I had "done Parsha" without them. We ultimately did do this project together but, let's just say that they used a little more poetic license than I did.

Maya decided that she wanted to do a rainbow, but she said that it was a rainbow IN Israel. Close enough, I guess.

Avital, well, she just went freestyle...

Although, as always, it was challenging for me to "let go" and allow them to play, I did let them do as many mosaics as they wanted and we now have a nice collection.

Now, how do I tell them that these will NOT be going with us to Israel...