Lighting the Candles. You will have to excuse my hair...I meant to be wearing my head covering to avoid showing off my awesome hairdo!
It has been about a month since I last updated you on our neighborhood preschool group, and yet again we are up for anything wild and crazy!! This month we took a spring break and an extra week off as we will be loosing 2 students due to their dad being deployed very soon. We spent time this month learning about the letters F and G, St. Patrick's Day, the color Green, the shape square, and sequencing. This week, we had a Preschool Passover! We had a total of 6 kids ranging in ages from 2 to 5 and had a great time!!
Blessing the children and tasting the bitter herbs dipped in salt water to represent the tears of Israel.
One of my hobbies is genealogy, and as I have mentioned on here before, some of David's family is Jewish. While we attend a church, I have spent time studying Hebrew and Jewish beliefs and holidays to better understand my genealogical research. One thing that has struck me over and over is the excellent teaching methods used in the Jewish faith. While Christianity does use some hands on learning, it is not anywhere close to the extent the Jews go to. Everything is all about eating, drinking, moving, participating, etc in learning about your faith. There is very little of the "sit down, be quiet, and listen" approach that is so very often prevalent in churches today. As everyone in our preschool group follows the Christian faith, we used the Preschool Passover to teach some of our own beliefs, and the kids seemed to have a great time!
First we had the kids clean up the toys for Passover. Then I hid piece of bread around the house for them to find, and we made a big to do about throwing all of the bread out of the house! (As you are only supposed to have flat bread during the 8 days of the Passover celebration.) Then we lit the holiday candles. (I actually got to use the candlesticks a relative had brought David's grandmother back from Israel!) I recited the candle lighting blessing in Hebrew and English. Then we had our first glass of grape juice. Then we blessed each child present. That was the last of the blessings we included (since most of our crowd was 3 and under)! Then it was time to wash hands and tell the story of why we celebrate Passover. I made a tent and dressed up in clothes similar to a Jew during the time of Passover (The costume wasn't exact, but it was as close as I could get in my very pregnant state).
In the tent we told the story of the 10 plagues and how Pharaoh finally let the Israelites go. I have to say, you don't realize it until you are telling a bunch of two year olds, but it has quite a few gross and sad details. We also had snacks and tried bits of parsley (that was not popular). We also broke the matza and hid a piece for the kids to find later. Then it was time to wash our hands again and head back to the table for coloring our Passover booklets, snacks, and yet another cup of grape juice! At this point we also went over the different parts of the sedar plate and what each symbolizes. Then the kids got up to search for the hidden piece of matza in hopes of earning a prize! Then we had a little outside play time while lunch was finishing. We had Matza Ball soup, Israeli couscous, Mediterranean crackers, matza, as well as an American appetizer platter. The kids were a little unsure about the Jewish food, but it was a good experience. Finally we had the after dinner prayer, more grape juice and matzah, and all shouted "Next year in Jerusalem."
It was a lot of fun and a great way to teach Christian children about the Bible and the Jewish traditions/holidays they read about so often in the Bible. It is also an excellent opportunity for me to teach my children about the traditions and beliefs of one side of our family. Preparing for our Preschool Passover also further impressed on me the significance of the Passion Week events. For example, Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew) came into Jerusalem (the Triumphal Entry) on the day that Jews would have been selecting their lambs to sacrifice. He was crucified at the time of Passover (exact times tend to be up to interpretation). He rose from the dead on the Day of First Fruits, when the first of the harvest is coming in, and His Spirit came to dwell with his disciples after the Counting of the Omer, on Shavout, which commemorates the giving of the 10 commandments. If you are interested in learning more about Passover or Christian beliefs relating to Passover, I read information from many different sources and many different branches of Judaism; however, from a Christian perspective, my favorite site is www.hebrew4christians.com
Disclaimer: I am not an expert on Judaism so there may be errors. I would also like to add that there is no disrespect intended toward anyone.