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November 26, 1993 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-11-26

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Louie the Lox and Gomer Gefilte Fish get the little
ones excited about synagogue and prayer.


Cantor Howard Glantz and friends tell a Torah story.

ids can learn a lot from a
fish — or two.
That's .Cantor Howard
Glantz's theory.
So while adult members
of Adat Shalom Synagogue
attend the Saturday morn-
ing service, children ages 2
to 4 are participating in a
shortened version of
prayer with their parents,
Cantor Glantz, Gomer the
Gefilte Fish and Louie the
Once a month, from
October through June,
families gather at 10:30
a.m. for Torah for Tots.
The first two sessions have
brought in more than 25
The "mini-service" con-
sists of four main compo-
nents: a warm-up, prayero-

bics (worship combined
with body movement), an
abbreviated Torah service
and a Musaf service. The
45-minute session ends
with a snack or Kiddush
and just enough time to
view the wrap-up of the
adult service.
"You can't expect chil-
dren this young to be able
to follow a complete ser-
vice, but they can get a
sense of its order, of what
it is all about," Cantor
Glantz said.
posters containing the
words of songs are posted
around the room. Parents
and children sing tradi-
tional nursery-school
favorites along with
melodies created by Cantor

Glantz. Tots are asked for
their input with songs like
"What Do You Like About
Shabbat?" where a laun-
dry-list of candles, challah
and other memorable
moments of the Sabbath
are the subject of song.
Cantor Glantz views this
part of the session as the
mirror to the morning
blessings and psalms.
Prayerobics follows.
Cantor Glantz uses four
blessings to get the tiny
bodies moving and think-
ing: "God opens our eyes
(so rub your eyes), God
gives us clothes (so touch
your sweater), God helps
us get up (so crouch down
and pop up like a jack-in-
the-box) and God gives
us land (so stomp

on the floor)."
The meat — or fish — of
Torah for Tots is the Torah
It begins with prayer-
book texts, keeping par-
ents occupied and storing
components in the chil-
dren's memory banks for
later, and the reciting of
the Sh'ma Yisrael with
sign language and move-
Children are then invit-
ed to the Ark to choose one
of 50 soft Torahs. They
gather around Cantor
Glantz for the equivalent
of storytime.
With the assistance of
Louie the Lox and Gomer
the Gefilte Fish — hand
puppets created out of car-
pet scraps and other
throwaways — Cantor
Glantz tells a Torah-relat-
ed story.
"We sing songs, learn
some Torah, some
Midrash, some Jewish sto-
ries," Cantor Glantz said.
The final component of
the day is the mirroring of
the Musaf service where
families sing about trying
to be holy and act in the
image of God. Farewell
songs are sung, many
Cantor Glantz's own cre-
ations, using all the chil-
dren's names. (Cantor
Glantz asks parents to
make name tags for their
young ones prior to
Shabbat and attach them
to their clothing Saturday
morning.) A snack follows.
"These songs aren't
going to win composition
awards. But the kids do
learn Hebrew and content
in a language they can
understand and remem-
ber," Cantor Glantz said.
"This is a good way for
kids to get introduced to
Shabbat and have a posi-
tive experience in the syn-
Torah for Tots is open to
members and non-mem-
bers. Cantor Glantz's next
service will be Dec. 8. ❑

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