Sea urchins: An Unlikely Menorah

What have you’ve used to make a Hanukkah menorah?

In Temple times, crafted from gold, the menorah had seven branches- instead of the nine used today - branching out from the Shamash to host eight shimmering lights. Our menorahs today traditionally sit in a window, lit at night, for those passing to see the celebration in progress. 
A menorah can be made out of a variety of different materials. Some are crafted from metal or clay. Some are made with plastic and use lightbulbs as flames. Some are made as school art projects. And some are made from the most unlikely materials. 
December comes during the summer in Antarctica. This means that it’s part of six months of constant sunlight. For those who celebrate Hanukkah, recreating the warm celebratory glow of the menorah becomes a concern...
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SAVOR THE MOMENT: Light the Menorah: A Hanukkah Handbook

Families lead busy lives, often running from one activity to another. It is not easy to fit in sports, play dates, music lessons, dinner, and homework in the few hours between school and bedtime. By December, young families may feel exhausted. Is it possible to pause for Hanukkah? Could eight days of candle-lighting become an opportunity to slow down, reflect, discuss, and share?

Unlike Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur, Hanukkah is not observed in the synagogue through long religious services. Unlike Passover, it does not require extensive preparation. We don’t dress up in costume the way we do on Purim or build an outdoor structure the way we do on Sukkot. 

By contrast, Hanukkah is simple: Candles, gifts, potato pancakes, and jelly doughnuts. What’s more, it is customary not to work while the candles in the menorah are burning. The average Hanukkah candle lasts less than an hour. This is the perfect amount of time to spin the dreidel or play a board game together as a family. The Hanukkah lights can help us be mindful of the ones we love and to appreciate each moment in their presence.
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New Beginnings in Fall - Fresh New Books from Kar-Ben

September always feels like a new beginning—the start of the school year, the launch of a new book season, and the start of the Jewish New Year. All three converge at Kar-Ben Publishing, an imprint of Lerner Publishing, proudly the largest publisher of exclusively Jewish-themed children’s books in the world!

Just as the new year (which happens to be 5780) begins on Rosh Hashanah, Kar-Ben’s new book season kicks off with a Rosh Hashanah board book featuring an old friend. In Shanah Tovah,Grover!, Grover and his Sesame Street friends prepare for the holiday and wish each other “Shanah Tovah” (Hebrew for “a good year”)!

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Tisha B'Av - A Time to Dig Deep

Tisha B’Av, the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av (tisha means 9 in Hebrew), is a day for mourning the loss of the ancient Temples in Jerusalem. According to Jewish tradition, both of the Temples were destroyed on that day: the first in 586 BCE and the second in 70 AD. For many centuries, the Temples were the center of Jewish life, and where people came to pray on the holidays of Sukkot, Passover and Shavuot.
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School’s Out for Summer! Hot Books for Warm Days

Summer is a time to say goodbye to long days in school, and say hello to long summer days in the sun relaxing with friends.  But for some, summer is also time for new places, new people and new experiences.

The unique experience of a Jewish summer camp, with Shabbat celebrations, special songs, dances, art, and activities introduces campers to the richness of Judaism and helps build Jewish identity.  But going to camp for the first time, may bring worries about making friends, getting homesick, and trying new things.  Even veteran campers may want to try out these books to see a slice of life at a Jewish camp.

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Teacher Resources for Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day

Many schools and community organizations create programs to observe the gravity of the Holocaust and to educate and create awareness among future generations.
Creating compelling programming for schools can pose a challenge, especially for children in younger grades who have not yet learned about the magnitude of the Holocaust. Children's picture books can be important tools for teaching about the Holocaust. Our books give children a first glimpse at history through unique lenses--modern cave exploration, collecting paper clips, a journey into space, and even from through perspective of a neighborhood cat.
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Choosing the Right Haggadah for Your Seder

haggadah is a tool for storytelling and recounting the history of the Jewish people. It’s a source for prayer and song. It can include discussion questions and invite many levels of participation in the seder. The experience of storytelling is the most powerful when everybody is actively engaged. Do you want one individual to lead the seder, reading the story to those around the table? Do you want seder participants to take turns reading parts of the service? Selecting the best haggadah for your seder can be a lot of fun! You may even decide to use more than one! Here’s how to determine which haggadah(s) will work best for your group.
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Welcoming This Bird Home: Translating Yuvi's Candy Tree into Hebrew

This is the launch speech in English writer Lesley Simpson delivered in Ranana, Israel to celebrate the Hebrew translation of Yuvi’s Candy Tree. Learn how a movement began to share this story with people all across Israel
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Compelling Story of Modern Exodus Shared In Israel

This is a story of radical hope. Yuvi’s Candy Tree (Kar-Ben Books 2011)  is a children’s picture book written by Canadian writer Lesley Simpson.  The book was inspired by Yuvi Tashome, who as a five year old girl, outwitted robbers in her exodus from Ethiopia to a Sudanese refugee camp. The book grew out of an interview Simpson, a Canadian journalist and children’s book writer (lesleysimpson.ca) requested with Yuvi Tashome when she was in North America in 2009, raising awareness and money for the NGO she founded in Israel called Friends by Nature.  When Simpson heard Tashome describe her Biblical-like exodus, it felt to her as if the Haggadah was coming alive before her eyes. She imagined a picture book and then wrote Yuvi’s Candy Tree.
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Harry Lerner presents 100,000th book at PJ Library Minneapolis’ 10th birthday celebration

Lerner Publishing founder and PJ Library supporter Harry Lerner presented Noah Parks with the program’s milestone 100,000th free book at an event celebrating ten years of PJ Library, a program of Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis (JFCS) held November 11. Parks, now age 11, has been receiving free books monthly since the inception of the program ten years ago.
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