Each year at Simchat Torah, we start reading the Torah from the beginning, once again. Of course, when I say “we” I’m not referring to myself. While learning, especially Torah learning, is probably the part of Judaism that’s the most spiritually meaningful to me, I haven’t incorporated Torah study, or even a little bit of table talk about the weekly parsha, into our lives. A few times during the year I think, oh, we’ll start next Simchat Torah. And then I forget.
Well, last week, I didn’t forget. But I did catch myself a bit unprepared. At my mother’s new apartment in Baltimore, where the books, including chumashim, are still taped up in floor-to-ceiling towers of boxes, I didn’t know where to turn to get some material to guide our first parsha talk. Fortunately, I had the URJ book Torah Alive
with me, because I’m using it to help prepare for my Kindergarten teaching, so I drew from that to tell the stor(ies) of creation of the world and of Adam and Eve.
Now I’m looking for some resources to make a weekly parsha conversation really easy. A book I can open, or a website I can print out from. Sounds simple, right? Well, it appears I’m kind of high maintenance in this department. First of all, I need something that assumes no prior knowledge on the part of my kids. Second, I need material geared for a five year old with a five-year-old’s attention span. I want something true to the original text, not full of midrashim peppered in without explanation. And I definitely don’t want it full of cutesy won’t-kids-think-this-is-a-riot language. (Torah Tots
, for example. starts this weeks parsha like this:
How do we know that they played baseball during creation?
Because it says “In The ‘Big Inning’ Hashem created the heavens and the earth.”
Not my cup of tea, shall we say. Also, I don’t want a video or podcast, and I don’t need printable coloring pages, mazes or dot to dots. (Unless they are of leprosy. Those I want.)
So, dear, readers, what have you got for me?