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Another variant of COVID hit the world, and some states are back with mask mandates. China has locked up thirteen million people. Home seclusion can happen. It's scary. The prospect of another quarantine is scary. What is even scarier is the thought of having to spend so much time with the family, again.
You need to be prepared, just in case the family is stuck together. I am going to help you with some Jewish family activities, just in case you need to spend time with the kids. Just thinking about that is painful.
As the saying goes, let's make the pandemic Jewish. I might have heard that from one of the local anti-Semites. Nonetheless, it's a beautiful thought. Embrace your families and make this time with the kids holy. Here’s how to make your time at home Jewish.
Arts and Crafts with Your Children
Do Jewish art with the children. Jewish arts and crafts consists of making holiday objects or a Mezuzah. Those are the two options for the season. A still claymation glob on your doorpost, or a slab of wood with some nuts on it.
I understand that you missed Chanukah, but you can still catch Pesach. Make the Seder plate with the children and keep them occupied. Be sure to have them work the chicken and horseradish that is not kosher for Pesach into their art, so you have an excuse to not use it on Pesach. You never want to show your child's art. That lack of talent is embarrassing to the family.
Bake a Challah
Baking Challah is a beautiful Jewish family tradition. It gets the kids involved, and it gives you chance to yell at them. You're going to get mad. It might as well be for them not kneading fast enough.
If the grocery stops selling flour, for whatever quarantine reason, blame that on the kids. Yelling is an important Jewish experience, as it brings back memories of preparing for the holidays.
Use the time to connect with the past. This is a good time to connect your children with family history. Show the kids the pictures of your childhood. That is educational. The grainy pictures are best. Allow your kids to see what the world looked like before HD.
Show them pictures of religious grandparents. Even if it’s not their grandparents, as long as it’s a European looking family, that’s good enough. All old pictures from Eastern Europe look like they're of religious people.
The pictures should be educational. Remember, you have to be prepared to run a school in your house. The day school is not going to refund any of the $22,000 you spent.
Encourage Your Children to Go Online
You’re not going to keep the kids away from the TV and computer for more than a day. You'll give the speech about family time, but after five hours of being together, family time is done for the month. Caring about family for more than five hours is painful. Nobody has that kind of stamina for showing love. Give the children your phone and let them have the screen. There's only so much crying you can deal with.
Don't try to keep your kids off the websites. They're going to see the shmutz during class. The day school’s video conference classes program will have them online regularly, browsing the internet and binge watching. Watching The Lord of The Rings looks like you're engaged on the webcam. A decent series is the only way your child will do well in class.
Don't think your kids won't ignore you. Your child is now internet savvy and doesn’t need your help until dinner.
It may be winter where you are. Even so, it's never too early get your kids to help around the house and do some spring cleaning. Turn being stuck in the house to something positive. Finally, you can paint the family room. You will have time to clean for Pesach. Passover cleaning will be done and the house will be clean as the hotel you stayed at three Pesachs ago.
Tell the children it’s a Mitzvah. Telling them they’re cleaning for Passover and it’s a commandment is the best way to get them involved in spring cleaning. Tell them that they have to get rid of Chametz, and that includes raking the leaves still in the yard.
My parents used to tell me there was Chametz on the windows. That's how they got those panes squeaky clean.
Constantly Check If Your Kid is Sick
They quarantined everybody for safety, so use it for the Mitzvah of Pikuach Nefesh, saving a life. As part of their Jewish education, let the kids know that it's a Mitzvah to skip school.
Educate by example. As a parent, it's good to spend your time with the back of your hand on their foreheads. When you see them sit, have your hand there. When they go to sleep, when they eat, when they clean, when they’re online with their virtual class, have the back of your hand there. If you don’t worry for them, who will. There's a reason that any good Jewish mother will ensure their little athlete is not going to dehydrate when they're playing soccer.
Eat A Lot
The gyms are back to making you wear a mask. Science shows that people have a problem working out when they can't breath. You’re not going to work out. You're going to put on weight, which makes this is a holiday. Celebrate. How do we celebrate when we can’t go to the gym? We eat.
Good Jews eat. We eat and we give the food a Yiddish sounding name, and we don’t go to the gym. Getting heavy is part of the Jewish tradition, and how we celebrate every holiday. This is your chance to repent and put on some weight.
Eat with the family and become better Jews together.
Watch a Jewish Movie
That means anything with a Jew in it. This means no foreign films.
Perfect Chance to Watch Shtisel as a Family
When you get into the family fights, put on Shtisel and your kids will appreciate being part of your family.
By foreign films, we mean anything that is not American or Israeli.
If they quarantine you again, make it a great time to be at home. Make it family time. Celebrate the children. Years from now, your family will remember all the time spent together, huddled in the home. And you will say, ‘Thank Gd there is a vaccine.’
And do not ask your kids if they got vaccinated. You don't want to have to kick them out of the house.
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Wearing Israeli flags. Showing their support for Israel at the rally in DC. It would’ve been smarter if they brought coats. Based on experience, flags don’t work as good windbreakers.