Life at Home: Ten things to do with family

The novel coronavirus pandemic is providing families with time together. Why not use some time for Jewish activities? Here are 10 Jewish things you can do together during your time at hom

1. Once Passover is over, bake challah together.

There is nothing like challah fresh from the oven. Once you try homemade, you may never go back to store bought. Here is my favorite recipe made in a bread machine or by hand. You can experiment with adjusting the ingredients, depending on what you have available.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ⅛ cups of warm water
  • 3 teaspoons of yeast
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 ½ cups of flour

Step 1: Mix together water and yeast and a teaspoon of sugar. Set aside.

Step 2: In a separate bowl, mix eggs, oil, sugar and salt.

Step 3: After yeast mixture has started to bubble, combine the two mixtures. Add flour. Knead well.

Step 4: Cover and let rise 1 hour

Step 5: Knead dough again and braid into 2 loaves.

Step 6: Brush with beaten egg. Sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds if desired

Step 7: Bake for 40-45 minutes at 325.

Feel free to experiment: add chocolate chips, raisins, or other ingredients.

2. Read Jewish books

There are many great Jewish children’s books. If you don’t have any, there are plenty online or sign up for PJ Library at PjLibrary.org.

3. Watch a Jewish video/movie

While you are binge watching your favorite shows, watch a Jewish movie together. Some of my family favorites:

  • “An American Tale”
  • “Fiddler on the Roof”
  • “The Prince of Egypt”
  • “Joseph King of Dreams”
  • “The Frisco Kid”
  • “Young Abraham”
  • “The 10 Commandments”
  • “Yentl”
  • “Ushpizin”
  • “The Chosen”

4. Make an art project

Make a matzah or challah cover. Take a handkerchief or fabric and decorate it with puffy paint, markers, beads or other materials.

5. Go on a Jewish scavenger hunt around your house

Look for Jewish objects around your house. Tell your children about each object’s history. Don’t have many Jewish objects at home? Go on a scavenger hunt online. Find different Jewish objects and learn about their meaning.

6. Make cards for people in nursing homes

Residents in nursing homes cannot have visitors right now. Make cards or write letters to brighten their days. Mail them to: Ovation Jewish Home, Attention Rabbi Steve Adams, 1414 N. Prospect Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202.

7. Listen to Jewish music / have a dance party

The internet is filled with Jewish music. Go to YouTube, PJLibrary.org or your favorite music app and search Jewish music. Have a dance party or play freeze tag.

8. Play a Jewish Game

Try a game of charades, Pictionary or trivia. Everyone can make up clues, put them in a hat, and off you go. Develop trivia questions to stump one another. Not sure of answers? Research together.

9. Read this week’s Torah portion

The internet is full of family-friendly resources about the weekly Torah portion. Do a search online and then read the week’s portion together.

10. Create a family scrapbook

Gather old pictures or take new ones. Create a scrapbook of your family doing Jewish things together. The project keeps you busy now; the end result lasts forever.

Tziporah Altman-Shafer is the Jewish Education Community Planner for the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. She wrote this working remotely in Fox Point, at home with her husband and two of her three kids. Her oldest child is living out of state.