Photo by Jordyn Rozensky Photography

The staff was curious about how members of the Boston community are using their new Shabbat of the Month kits, so I thought I would make the rounds and find out! What I found is a community bursting with creativity, passing on their inspiration from generation to generation.

My first stop: Temple Israel of Boston

Julie Unger, Temple Israel’s coordinator for families with young children, told me all about the temple’s programs for kids 5 and under. Their monthly “Sacredness and Shabbat” program actually already includes a box ritual—their rabbi brings out a box with a mystery item inside, and the kids sing: “What’s in the Shabbat box? What did the rabbi bring?” This month, they used our Shabbat of the Month kit, and then each family took one home!

Back at home, Julie and her 3-year-old son enjoyed the tactile candle-making activity. She loves the idea of using the kit with her family to get excited for Shabbat on Fridays before lighting the candles together.

My second stop: Yal-Day-New Day Care Center in Brighton

Yal-Day-New Day Care Center is a Jewish community for infants and preschoolers. We connected them with a batch of our boxes through Sarah Feinberg, a Yal-Day-New parent (and CJP’s senior director for operations, planning and analysis).

For Sarah, Shabbat of the Month reminds her of doing some of the same activities with her own mother when she was a young girl. Sifting through the materials in our box, she settled on the challah cover and paused to reflect on how her mother, a fabric artist, kept their house full of challah covers when she was growing up.

“I still have challah covers from when I was in preschool,” she explained. The idea of creating a challah cover with her own daughter is a link to that family tradition. Having one’s own challah cover on the table is a great way for kids to see their families honor their contributions. For Sarah, this aspect of our Shabbat kit is a link to l’dor v’dor—the value of passing traditions from generation to generation, leaving the world more beautiful than we found it.

What aspects of Shabbat of the Month remind you of your own childhood? As it was for Sarah, this can be a great way to think about ways of connecting with your own children.

From temples to homes, is excited to be part of a Jewish community that is bursting with tradition and creativity.