Sunday, February 03, 2013

Tots' Shabbat

Last Saturday we held our very first Tots’ Shabbat at the synagogue. I’m going to stick my neck out here and hazard a guess that that was probably the first toddler service ever in our 250 year old community! A friend and I run the toddler group (known as the Dreidl Dribblers) and this time we decided to see what we could do in the way of a service. So she brought her guitar and I brought some challah, and everyone brought children. We’re quite a small select group, so we were really pleased with the turnout – 5 children and 7 adults. 
We sat on the carpet instead of in the normal seats so the kids had plenty of room to move about, and we sang a variety of songs, some traditional, and some…errrr… less so! This one was genius, especially with some BSL-inspired actions. About halfway through we got out a Sefer Torah and all processed round the bimah with it, then stopped so all the kids could thoroughly investigate it – stroke the velvet, wave the yad and shake the rimmonim to make the bells jingle. 
The whole thing only lasted about half an hour before we went upstairs for coffee, chat and play, and it was really lovely. I want Daniel to grow up with a variety of Jewish experiences – normal services, sure, but also services more tailored towards him, and opportunities to play with other children who happen to be Jewish. We may be in a minority in this part of the world but that doesn’t have to mean complete isolation. With a whole group of them the same age, we’re all hoping to keep doing these things as they grow up so they can form their own mini community – a ‘peer group’ in the best sense of the word.


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