This past week on February 28th, our family celebrated a typical Jewish holiday, Purim.
Although we are not Jewish I find myself constantly wanting to learn more about the Jewish background of our Christian heritage, and I felt that it would be a wonderful concept to explore this year for our whole family.
So we decided to include it in our curriculum.
After much searching the web for good resources on how to incorporate Jewish studies into a Christian curriculum, here is what I came up with:
Hebrew4Christians- we began using this site extensively to help us learn the Hebrew alphabet, especially for handwriting.
TorahTots-Now this is a cool little site for kids that help them learn about the Jewish holidays, background on each, coloring pages, fun online games, and other little odds and ends that help bring the celebration of Jewish holidays into a realistic point of view for kids.
But probably the most helpful and insightful of all of my findings was the company, Heart of Wisdom.
Here is what owner and author of A Family Guide To The Biblical Holidays has to say about the Jewish aspect of our Christian faith:
We study a Hebrew book-written by Hebrews; we serve a Hebrew Lord-who had Hebrew disciples; we desire to follow the first century church-which was first predominately Hebrew; and through Christ, we are grafted into a Hebrew family! It makes sense to study our fascinating heritage.
During this season of my Christian journey I find myself completely in agreement with Robin and am very grateful to her for writing this book (along with co author Linda Pierce). This book is an EXCELLENT resource for any Christian family wanting a gentle Messianic approach to incorporating the Jewish holidays, culture, and background into your home school or family life.
So, here is what we did:
- I am not much of a sewer, but decided to use the sewing version for creating the symbolic flags for our dinner centerpiece. They are found on pages 72-73 of Robin and Linda's book, A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays
My daughter and I decorate with rhinestones:
There was a learning curve involved for me. I had no clue I was supposed to iron these studs on, so initially I had my daughter attempting to peel some "backing" off them individually.
Funny. But we got a hang of it and figured it out. We eventually got all the studs ironed on the correct way. This will be good experience for me whenever I do learn how to sew, for real.
Now, on to the multi-holiday centerpiece flags. We created two of these for Purim but will need to create a few more for future holidays. I got all the fabric I needed for the upcoming holidays. Here I cut out a few squares, made a photocopy of the pictures of the Star of David and Cup of Bread, provided in Robin's book on page 75. I did a little painting on the fabric for decoration, added the wooden dowels, but instead of sewing I just ended up gluing them on.
Along with my styrofoam base, here is what my final product looked like for my centerpiece (on a small table, that is-crown and sceptre to be added later):
Now for dessert, where NyGirl insisted on using the beater for the cookie mix. We decided on Hamantashen cookies (page 427 in the book). Basically they mean "Haman's pockets" and are supposed to resemble the hat Haman may have worn. Another traditional food she mentions in her book is Esther's Banquet Bars. We have the ingredients for this, but decided to wait until next week to cook this set since we had so much batter from the Hamantashens left over:
So, to wrap it up:
We cut the batter into circles using a cup, filled the middle with raspberry preserves, folded into the shape of hat, then cooked.
The next day, our feast was beautiful. My two girls, husband and I enjoyed a yummy meal of baked chicken with rice and snap peas cooked in turkey bacon. Yummy. We had our Hamantashens for desert with sweet tea, and my husband enjoyed reading the girls a book about Esther.
In all, it was a beautiful Purim feast.