Thanks for all of your suggestions. I have yet to come across a really good summary of the weekly parsha that meets the criteria I blogged about a few weeks ago. A few people suggested the archives of URJ Family Shabbat Table Talk. This site offered some interesting questions. (My question – why are the books of the Torah alphabetized rather than indexed in order??) However, most entries either did not include a summary, or included a summary pitched toward older and more knowledgeable listeners than my 5 and 7 year old children.
For now, I’ve landed on a different solution. I’m using the website Bible Gateway, which offers dozens of online translations of the Bible (Jewish and Christian.) I’m relying on the Contemporary English version, which isn’t very poetic, and probably not very scholarly, but it’s very, very accessible. For our shabbat table, I’m printing out all or part of the parsha, replacing English names with Hebrew (relying on my own memory for this), and just reading it aloud. If my kids have questions or comments, we talk about those. If not, at least they are gaining some biblical literacy. What we’ll do when we hit Leviticus, well, I’m not too sure. Even in modern English, laws about ritual purity, nocturnal emission and which dead bodies a Cohen can touch are not great table talk.
Because Bible Gateway is not a Jewish site, the texts are not indexed by parsha. A great resource for finding out where the weekly Torah portion begins and ends is the interactive calendar Hebcal. Make sure to click on “weekly sedrot” and Diaspora if you live outside of Israel.
I haven’t watched the vidoes on G-dcast with my children yet, but I’m going to try this week. Here’s this week’s offering, for your viewing pleasure. Shabbat Shalom!