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Children in Jerusalem.

Image via Wikipedia

In response to a question on Imamother: Do mothers of many children have more nachas?

Mothers of many children have more.

More crying, and more giggling. 

More complaining, and more warm sleepy bodies curled up against you for a bedtime story.

More shouting, and more whimsical childhood secrets whispered ticklishly in your ear.

More sibling rivalry, and more siblings performing original plays for Mommy on a Shabbos afternoon.

More nights you stay awake balancing a baby on each hip, dancing them to sleep as music plays, bleary eyed while you damage your feet so permanently that you will have to wear custom insoles for the rest of your life. And more nights in your life that you held close those you love most and danced.

There are more teenagers to gang up in protest against your ridiculous rules. And more teenagers to arrive home on the day of your own mother’s yahrtzeit, and when you protest tearfully that they didn’t have to come, they say we’re with you. Mommy, we’re with you.

So much more mess, but when you stack it all up before your Night of Freedom, it becomes a pile of so many first grade copies of Chumash Bereishis, each child an opportunity to begin anew, so many priceless works of art that reinvent the artist.

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My first week of classes

A pair of sterling silver candlesticks for use...

Image via Wikipedia

 Tuesday:

 My first class is a Kids’ Jewish Book Club. I prepared a story about a boy who pretended that he needed glasses, to get attention. All my points for discussion were carefully documented in Word.

My book with the story went missing.

I chose a new Chaim Walder story on the spot, because the kidsthat arrived in my class were younger than the age group I expected. It was about two girls who planned their birthday parties for the same date at the same time, and invited the same guests. I read and we discussed the concepts and lots of vocabulary. Also the idea of Veahavta Lereacha Kamocha.

The kids are amazing! They participated fully, typing remarks into the chat box or clicking to talk into their microphones..

We stopped at suspenseful point, and talked about what that means.

We also learned about a narrator, a publication date and where in a book it can be found.

Wednesday:

In Aleph Beis class, we determined that some kids know all the letters, and some kids know a few letters.

We identified aleph, beis, veis, gimmel and dalet among other symbols and among all of these letters.

 We explained that beis and bet are the same letter – there are two ways to say it.

Same with veis and vet.

We learned the correct way to write the aleph and the beis, and we practiced writing these letters step by step.

The students were very considerate of giving one another space on the screen to write their letters. They all typed or spoke into their mics.

We said that whoever wants can practice writing the aleph and the beis until the next class.

Thursday:

We read Is It Shabbos Yet? by Ellen Emerman.

Friday is a special day because it is Erev Shabbos. We talked about ways we help our parents get ready for Shabbos. Some of our students know how to mop or bake challah! In Israel we wash the floor with a sponga stick and a cloth dipped into a pail of water.

We drink wine or grape juice, and eat challah on Shabbos. We eat other special foods too. In our story, Malkie helped make chicken soup, chicken and salad. Our students said they enjoy challah, pasta and chocolate cake!

Some people give tzedaka before lighting Shabbos candles. We explained how the money gets to the needy. (Needy people need things like money and food and clothes. Baruch Hashem – thank G-d, we have all these things, but some people need them.)

When all the work is done and the Shabbos candles are lit, then it’s finally Shabbos. And we can say Good Shabbos!