B’Yachad in the summer

B’Yachad, the Ithaca Jewish preschool, is running a summer program.

The program features outdoor play, Jewish learning, gardening project, sprinkler fun and much more. You can sign up by the week for the 6-week program.

Click on the photo for more information or to find out about B’Yachad during the regular school year.

B’Yachad is a wonderful, magical little school and it is a wonderful option for Ithaca parents.



More Magen David-themed crafting

Magen David facepaint

Following up on our previous Magen David-themed craft project, this project is again contributed by my sister and amazing nieces.

Here is a simple but very effective folded and stapled Magen David paper necklace.


The necklace is just a paper triangle with concertina folds on the points, overlapped together, then decorated.

Here’s the folding diagram:


and a picture of the completed back side.


Two minutes and you’re done.

Another project which has been road tested with real life kids in “coalface” conditions.

Thanks Paula!


A Mixed Multitude

Now that A. is four, she is really into the holidays in a way she wasn’t at three. So she has been helping with preparations for Passover, hunting for chametz, memorizing the four questions, and looking forward to two seders, one at the home of friends, and the other at our house, with her best friend invited.

Because we didn’t have enough to do, she and I embarked on a project: finger puppets! We had already made a whole fleet of Thomas the Tank Engine and friends felt finger puppets, so it wasn’t hard to adapt the idea to Moses, Pharaoh, and the Israelites.

Start with sheets of felt from the craft store, fabric tack, googly eyes (or use bits of felt), and scissors. Depending on your child’s skill level, you can cut out the felt, or they can help. Same with the glue. You might also want to cover the table with newspaper.

Supplies for finger puppets

Felt, scissors, fabric tack

Next, create a cardboard template for yourself in the shape of the puppet. Fold the felt so both sides are cut at the same time, outline the puppet’s body, and cut. Glue the two pieces together.

Templete and felt

Templete and felt

Next, decide on the color of hair, beard, clothes, etc. I have no crafting skills at all, so I used rectangles for the clothes, with scoop or V-necks, random scraps for lips, and whatever worked for hair and beard. We also made everyone in random colors, a sort of homage to the idea of a mixed multitude. The people who left Egypt could be beige or brown or black or blue or purple. Whoever they were when they left, they would be different before their journey was over. Obviously, we weren’t going for realism, though A. decided that Moses should be off-white, so that he would be as distinct as Pharaoh. Similarly, he is the only one dressed in purple.

Moses is taking shape

Moses is taking shape


Looking more like a leader…

We decided to make Pharaoh -and only Pharaoh–green, so he would really stand out. He’s also the only one with eyebrows, which was also A.’s choice. I suggested she use something sparkly on Pharaoh’s clothes or crown, but A. decided against it. He is, she said, a bad guy, and she didn’t want to make him pretty at all. No decorations for you, Pharaoh!


Pharaoh is green, with envy, or from a plague, or something


Mean looking guy, that Pharaoh!

And so, after a couple of hours of work, discussing the Exodus story as we went, A. and I had created, together, a slightly raggedy, but completely respectable Mixed Multitude: a minyan of Israelites, and one mean Pharaoh. And A. came up with a really brilliant idea: she remembered some ribbon left over from Hanukkah, and snipped bits for the Israelites’ belts: it is now abundantly clear who is who in this grouping!

Mixed Multitude

Mixed Multitude

Chag Sameach!