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December 13, 2002 - Image 76

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-12-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Got any plans for Jan. 22?
Consider a read-athon for
Israel. For more informa-
tion, check out this new
calendar from Jewish
Expeiiences For Families.

Are You Puzzled?

75

At-A-Glance

76

Days Of
Our Lives

A new calendar provides families

with quick and fun ideas for being

Jewish every day of the year.

ELIZABETH APPLEBAUM
AppleTree Editor

I

t might be Tolstoy's War and Peace, Martin
Buber's I and Thou —. or something in the
Goosebumps series. You just don't know what
your rabbi enjoys reading — unless you ask.
Try asking on May 18.
On March 6, don't just talk about how much you
love and support Israel. Do something about it. Write
a letter to an Israeli soldier.
Ever wondered what's inside a mezuzah? June 10,
2003, is your day to, well, look into it.
The new 365 Days/Wdys To Be Jewish calendar —
created by the Jewish Family Education Project of
Metro Detroit (a division of the local Agency for
Jewish Education's JEFF, Jewish Experiences For
Families) — gives families ideas for doing something
Jewish every day, from asking a rabbi his or her
favorite book to learning about kashrut. It's all fun,
quick and easy. And it all started with a simple ques-
tion.
"We were sitting at our Jewish Family Educators'
meeting, working on new programs for the 2002-
2003 school year," said Gail Greenberg, JEFF pro-
gram coordinator. "Someone asked, 'Why can't we
just be Jewish every day?'"
That's when the calendar idea came up. It was easy
knowing the basics: a calendar, complete with secular
and Jewish dates and candle-lighting times.
"We also absolutely wanted the parshah (Torah por-

12/13
2002

74

tion) of the week," Greenberg
added. "We figured that if people knew
nothing, at least they would know what the parshah
was and if they had a desire to look further, they
knew what to look for."
Then came the real work for Greenberg and project
partners Beth Raz, then Jewish family educator at
Congregation Shaarey Zedek and now with Yeshivat
Akiva in Southfield; Beth Sonne of Tamarack Camps;
and Congregation Shir Tikvah Family Education
Director Karen Knoppow (JEFF summer intern
Emily Radner and administrative assistant Lauren
Morton later added finishing touches). The women
had to roll up their sleeves and get thinking about
content.
"We came up with everyday ideas, but always with
a Jewish twist to them," Greenberg said. "Our goal
was to open people's Jewish eyes."
For example, on April 24, parents are encouraged
to do something a little more than the usual "get your
pajamas on and yes, I'll read you a story and yes, you
may have just one more drink" before-bedtime ritual.
Instead, the calendar suggests: "Start a Jewish bed-
time routine ... read a book, listen to or say the
Shema, and drift off to sleep."
On Dec. 24, children may want to play the "I Spy"
game ("I spy something blue ..."), this time using
Hebrew — ken (yes) and lo (no) — to help discover
what is being spied.
"We wanted to have some easier things for younger
members of the family, and some more challenging
ones that would involve a parent and child, such as
using the Internet to search on the Web, and dis-
cussing ideas with the family, from serious ideas to
more basic ones," Greenberg said.
"What we want is for families to learn together."

Each month includes a joke, a "Did You Know"
fact ("Did You Know ... two services each year end
with 'Next Year in Jerusalem'"), a "Find Out" sugges-
tion ("Find Out ... why Jews face east when they
pray''), a Hebrew word and an "Ask Your Clergy."
With the 'Ask Your Clergy" question, "a rabbi
becomes a person rather than just a clergy member
who might not be approachable," Greenberg said.
"And, yes, we did send every clergy member a calen-
dar in advance, so they weren't shocked when three-
fourths of their congregation came up and suddenly
asked, 'What's your favorite book?"'
For her part, Greenberg admits to a special fond-
ness for the calendar idea of inviting families, while
on the road, to spell out "Israel" using letters found
on various license plates.
This year, the 12 congregations participating in the
Jewish family education program could purchase their
calendars at cost. Greenberg hopes another calendar
can be created for next year, if more money is found.
Congregational families received the calendar, along
with a series of "completion coupons" and "reward
beads" to start a necklace. Each time a family per-
forms at least three activities on the calendar, the
child brings a signed co-upon to the Jewish family
educator at the synagogue or temple and gets a new
bead. The end result: a lot of fun doing the activities
and a lovely new necklace.
Additionally, the Jewish Family Education team is
putting together eight programs during the year to
supplement the calendar. Each will focus on a differ-
ent topic, such as "Being Jewish in Nature" and
"Being Jewish with Music and Movement."
Those who do not belong to a participating con-
gregation may purchase the calendar for $6 by con-
tacting JEFF, (248) 645-7860. ❑

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