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Archive for the tag “activities”

Seven shmitah-related tiyulim

Looking for a way to connect to the land during shmitah?  Here are some ideas for activities related to shmitah- start planning your next holiday now.

1. Leket Yisrael

Most of us are familiar with this organization that collects fruits and vegetables from farms and leftover food from various events to distribute to the needy.  During shmitah, collecting produce will take place in the fields of Moshav Nahalal which is under heter mechira.  For more information, call 09-7441757 extension 112, email, or go to their web site.

2. Halakatim- The Gatherers

During shmitah, when it is forbidden to plant or to harvest, the people would go out and gather plants and vegetables that grew without human intervention.  Yaron Sherman can take you out for a tour to see the bounty that this land has to offer- both in quantity and in quality.  The tour includes a theoretical part after which you collect foods to create a meal.  The tours are by prearrangement only and take place throughout Israel.  They are appropriate for groups of all ages.  For more information, call Yaron Sherman at 052-7400587, email, or go to his Facebook page.

3. Midreshet Haaretz UMitzvoteha at Kibbutz Chafetz Chaim

During shmitah the Midreshet invites everyone to come to learn, do, and try.  The visitors will enter a greenhouse that is an example of how vegetables are raised in a permitted manner during shmitah, will prepare a seedling and meet with a farmer who will tell of how he works during shmitah.  You will also be able to go into “Our Kitchen” to learn about the halachot of shmitah, watch a sound and light show, and ride around in a tractor to the refet and other parts of the kibbutz.  For more information, call 08-8593870, email, or go to their web site.

4. Kibbutz Hannaton

The educational center of Kibbutz Hannaton invites youths and students who speak English and Hebrew to learn and work according to the values of Judaism, nature, and peace.  The kibbutz offers tours of the different methods used during shmitah in the orchards, hefker fields, and heter mechira fields.  You will also have a chance to meet the Arabs working in the fields to understand how the heter mechira fits into the National Zionist ideology.  For more information, call 04-9059605, email, or go to their web site.

5. Keren Kayemet L’Yisrel (KKL-JNF)

KKL offers a wide variety of activities related to shmitah based on ecological, social, and Zionist values.  You can choose between shmitah tours in the forests and nurseries of KKL or activities that value the preservation of nature through preserving and treating the KKL forests.  The activities are appropriate for students and groups.  For more information, call “Kav L’Yaar” at 1800-350-550, go to the KKL web site, or read a previous post of mine.

6. Vertigo Eco-Art Village

Vertigo is a village of ecological artists in Kibbutz Netiv Halamed Hay.  For the shmitah year they offer a way to get closer to the earth through meditation, directed breathing, movement workshops and art.  The activities are accompanied with a textual study of shmitah, using it as a foundation for practical exercises. The activities are appropriate for groups of all ages.  For more information, call 02-9900235, email or go to their web site.

7. “Mischak Chozer”

Mischak Chozer are activities that are based on games made from recycled materials.  Some of the games will bring back fond memories from the adults of their childhood. The games are meant to encourage creativity and curiosity for a relatively low price.  Dina Eitan-Lior will bring the games and activities to you.  Preference is given to communities in the periphery and weaker communities.  The activities are intended for preschools, schools, senior citizens, and communities.  For more information call Dina at 054-5649554 or email

Pesach Mission #9: The children are not the Passover sacrifice!

That is a quote from Rav Aviner that really stuck with me.  What have our kids learned from this past week of vacation?  Is Pesach a fun holiday for them or a burden?  Are their parents spending quality time with them or are they constantly yelling?  I grew up dreading Pesach because of all the back-breaking work involved.  My oldest daughter, however, once told me that Pesach is her favorite holiday.  Why?  Because of all the fun things we do TOGETHER.   That is when I realized that I was able to break the chain of suffering.  I remember a woman wrote into a forum I belonged to saying that she broke her leg a few weeks before Pesach and was having 30 people at her seder.  She was distraught that she won’t be able to get everything done in time.  Several women offered time-saving tips, but one or two wrote in to say that she is not in Egypt anymore- she needs to tell her guests that it either has to be at someone else’s house, pot luck, or catered (with everyone contributing to the bill).  It was the merit of the women in Egypt who didn’t give up on their Judaism that saved the Jewish people.   By continuing the cycle of suffering before Pesach, we are showing our children that Judaism is pain and suffering, not joy and togetherness.  It is time for a change.

What can we do with our children to help them enjoy these last few days of preparation?  Give them tasks that are fun but useful and will make them feel important when they are at the seder table.

1.  Decorations – kids of all ages can make pictures of yetziat mitzrayim, plastelina sculptures of the four sons or the ten plagues, pyramids, etc.  One year we took haroset seriously and used it to build actual pyramids with matzot for walls.  They can make “chametz” and “KLP” signs for the cabinets and around the house.   One year we bought plain napkin holders and decorated them with ribbons, fake flowers, and glitter. Take a half hour in the arts and crafts store near you and you can have several hours of fun activities for them.

2. Cooking – are there foods the kids enjoy making?  I have one who makes jello, one who makes charoset.  One likes to arrange the desserts on a platter.  Find easy foods for them to make and let them help.  Believe me, you will get more oohs and ahhs from your guests when you say your 6 year old arranged the platter than if you did it!

3. Activities-how is your seder run?  Fast/slow?  Commentary/singing/divrei torah?  Don’t be afraid to add a little fun to the seder.  The plague bags on the Organizational Tools page never fails to bring a laugh to the young and old.  This year we are adding games for older children.  Some of our favorites include: Pesach Jeopardy by Rafi and Adina Goldreich as well as Grab Bag, Taboo, and more at Simchat Yechiel.  We are going to try a Pesach Cranium game this year and “Guess the true Pesach story”  by Rabbi Robert Scheinberg.  We have a tradition of dressing in costume for the seder which makes it livelier (and puts less pressure on keeping the outfits clean).  Another (Sephardic) tradition of ours is that we give each child a pillowcase with matzah in it and they go around the table re-enacting yetziat mitzrayim.  Each child goes to one of the adults who asks them “Where are you coming from?” The child answers “Mitzrayim”.  The adult then asks, “Where are you going to?” and the child answers “Yerushalayim.”  The adult then asks, “What are you taking with you?” and the child answers, “Matzah (or unleavened bread).”  This is a good ice breaker for the kids if there are a lot of guests and helps get their nervous energy out.  For more information on Sephardic Pesach  customs, click here.   Have the children prepare the activities listed above for the seder or they can make their own- word search (tifzoret), pitzuchim (A-Z Pesach) and more.  They can make up ice-breaker questions such as “What was the oldest piece of chametz you found?”  Assign one of the children to hide frogs in various places (the washing cup, under napkins, etc.) for a little surprise.

Some of you may feel that these ideas aren’t appropriate for the seder, especially in Israel where we have only one chance to “do it right”.  I personally think that we will have plenty of time in the future to be serious; when the kids are young is the time to laugh and do what it takes to keep them at the table.  If you disagree, however, feel free to play these games during the day, on chol hamoed, or on the last day.  They are still fun.

What are you doing at 4pm in Tel Aviv?

I stumbled across a really nice Facebook group which lists everything that is going on in Tel Aviv after 4pm- that is, from when the kids are home from school until dinner time.

‎מה עושים היום ב-4?‎

Here is a sample of today’s schedule:

As you can see, it lists the time, place, phone number, appropriate ages and price.

This is a great resource for anyone in Tel Aviv-enjoy!

Discount tickets to YU Kids in Modiin

Groupon has a deal for the new YU Kids in Yishpru Center-

Sun-Thurs: 2 kids for 35 shekels

Fri-Shabbat: 2 kids for 40 shekels

10-ticket cartisia good Sun-Shabbat for 200 shekels

Offer expires 31 Aug 2013.

שובר מ YU KIDS ישפרו סנטר (קומת הבידור) ירושלים

Lots of discounted summer activities at Groupi

Looking for a new adventure?  Go to Groupi and check our their extensive list of summer activities.  Some are quite outrageous, like sky diving for 5500 shekels but you can also snatch up tickets to Monkey Park for 22 shekels or for a tiyul on donkey in the Golan for 49 shekels.

Check out links to other discounted activites here and here.

Fun activities for kids at IKEA this August

Fun Free Activities for kids at Mega 24 July-9 Aug

Keep the whining under control while shopping at Mega with games, arts and crafts and more!

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