10 Fun Family Activities (with a Jewish Twist!) Over Summer Vacation

(written by Joan Dickman Bronspiegel)

The Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life

An agency of UJC MetroWest

901 Route 10, Whippany, NJ 07981

email: jdickman@thepartnershipnj.org

Bring Jewish Learning to Life.



1.            Make a “Shabbat-to-Go” Bag:

Welcome Shabbat: Pack a small bag with unbreakable candlesticks, candles, matches, grape juice, cups, and a challah cover…to take with you when you go away on vacation! Pick up a challah and Welcome Shabbat wherever you may be!  

If you are art-sy, it would be a great family project to design and decorate your Family Shabbat Bag or box and a special traveling challah cover (list or illustrate all the places your bag goes!)

Say Goodbye to Shabbat:  On Saturday night, watch the stars come out and count “1, 2 ,3  in Hebrew!.   “Goodbye- Shalom” and “See your soon”—L’hit-ra-ot” … until next week!


2.            Take a Jewish Field Trip:

Consider a visit to Ellis Island, The Lower East Side, The Jewish Museum, The Jewish Children’s’ Museum http://www.jcmonline.org/ , The Jewish Heritage Museum http://www.mjhnyc.org/index.htm . Listen to Jewish / Israeli music in the car!


3.            Tradition! Learn to make a favorite Jewish recipe together:

Find out more about your roots! Call a grandparent and ask about your family history, family traditions. Share stories and family recipes. Learn to make chicken soup, rugelach or Sephardic haroseth! You are the link to your family’s past…and future! Create family memories for your children NOW!


4.            Your Family Can Change the World

YOU can make a difference. Start a family mitzvah tradition. Visit someone who is ill, help the environment or join a group that is helping to make the world a better place- “Tikkun Olam”. Check out these organizations to start this summer  http://mitzvotofmetrowest.wordpress.com/  


5.            Love to Read?

Read a great “Jewish” book …Do you know that MetroWest will be participating in PJ Library? If you have a child 6 months to 5½ years, be sure to watch for details to sign up for this free reading program where books are mailed directly to your home!

Parents, have you read “The Blessing of a Skinned Knee” by Wendy Mogel?  Summer is a great time to read this life-changing parenting book!


6.            Love Movies??

Watch “Fiddler on the Roof” or “Keeping Up With the Steins” or another “classic.”   Borrow from the Waldor Library   http://www.ujfmetrowest.org/page.html?ArticleID=26409   (and great books too!)


7.            Are your children signed up for a Jewish Summer Camp Program?


8.            Israel

Celebrate Israel’s 60th Birthday! Wear blue and white.

Make an Israeli picnic! Buy Israeli products in your supermarket like chocolate spread or “bamba”. Make humus and Israeli salad http://judaism.about.com/od/israelirecipecollections/Israeli_Recipe_Collections.htm .

See what is happening at The Wall in Jerusalem right now! http://www.aish.com/wallcam/  Place a note in the Wall and see what time it is in Israel!


9.            Teens?

Check out this great column- “30 Activities to do in 60 Minutes or Less” http://chhs.wordpress.com/2007/12/  from Central Hebrew High School.

Note: This was written for Winter Break—Now, you won’t need mittens!


10.       Count Our Blessings

Hiking? Visiting a National Park? Surrounded by family? friends? A quiet moment? Take a deep breath. Appreciate our gifts in life. Thank God for all God’s creations and for our blessings of family, freedom (on July 4 and every day!), the beauty of nature. What are your blessings? Tell your children that they are a gift and a blessing. What do your children consider a “blessing” in their lives?


AND….even though summer has not even started—

Have you registered your child in a Jewish program for next Fall? Check out all the wonderful options in MetroWest for a meaningful Jewish education!! Day School, Religious School or early childhood programs for your kids. The Melton Adult Mini-School or Adult Ed (Hebrew, History…) through Rimon  www.rimonnj.org for YOU!


Where will you welcome the new Jewish year 5769 and celebrate the High Holiday? Be sure to take a great family photo this summer to use for your New Year Cards!  Erev Rosh HaShana is September 29, 2008!