A week from today, beginning at sundown, the Jewish holiday of Passover will start. The eight-day celebration (seven days in Israel) commemorates the birth of the Jewish nation after Moses freed the Israelite slaves in Egypt. You can read more about Passover from About.com's Guide to Judaism.
Rivky Koenig, a Jewish mother of five in New York, calls Passover a festive, intergenerational holiday that's especially fun for kids. During Passover, families spend hours telling religious stories, singing songs and eating traditional foods.
Koenig is the author of Crafting Jewish, (compare prices), a book published in November 2009 about handmade projects people can make to celebrate Judaism. The book is photographed by Jennifer Levy.
Koenig came up with the idea for Crafting Jewish after struggling to find crafts for kids to do at a Jewish summer camp where she works.
"l was always on the lookout for new crafts, but there was nothing specific that I felt was for the Jewish market," she says.
The book has led to a scrapbooking supply business Koenig just launched called Crafting Jewish Style. Through that, she sells crafting kits and scrapbooking paper that honors the Jewish faith. One paper she offers, for example, looks just like matzah, the traditional Passover cracker.
When decorating a table for Passover, "you could use (the matzah paper) to make napkin rings or tie it around a vase," she suggests.
Koenig also recommends decorating with frogs to symbolize one of the 10 plagues God set upon Egypt to punish the Pharaoh for keeping the Jewish slaves.
She says Jewish families typically decorate for Passover in an elegant way, though.
"This is the holiday when people take out their best china and crystal," Koenig says.
Making placemats and beaded napkin rings or decorating plastic goblets with faux jewels, then, are a few crafts kids can make for the holiday, she says.
Koenig's book has 120 pages of craft ideas. Stay tuned--She'll be sharing one of them with us soon.
If you celebrate Passover, how does your family decorate? What activities do you do with kids?
P.S. Koenig mentioned another great Jewish crafting resource: Creative Jewish Mom. If you hop over there now, it looks like you can enter for a chance to win Koenig's book.
Image courtesy of Mesorah Publications.