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Behrman Staff

  1. Ready-to-Go Hanukkah Lessons for Every Age

    Hanukkah begins Sunday, November 28. 

    We've rounded up some ready-to-go lessons and downloadable resources for Hanukkah to make it easy for you to provide meaningful learning experiences with your students. 

    Grades K-2

    Find meaning in Jewish holidays 

    Students will learn about spinning

    Read more »
  2. New Hanukkah Stories to Brighten Your Holiday

    Here are some new story books - and some other favorites - to entertain and inspire young children this holiday.

    Read more »
  3. How A Veteran Teacher is Using a Storybook to Explain Vaccines – and the Value of Protecting Others - to Children

    How A Veteran Teacher is Using a Storybook to Explain Vaccines – and the Value of Protecting Others - to Children

    As a preschool and kindergarten teacher, Hannah Bloom-Hirschberg spent many years nurturing small souls and soothing worries.

    As a provider of professional development to Jewish early childhood educators, she teaches others how to find Jewish values in everyday life.

    And as a parent, she uses those proficiencies daily, along with everything else that parenting young children entails.

    The Covid-19 pandemic and the recently approved vaccine for children have tested those skills as well as opened up opportunities for many conversations with children.

    When Bloom-Hirschberg’s 6-year-old son expressed some anxiety about his impending vaccine appointment, the Chicago mom and educator turned to story books as a way to explain complicated ideas.

    Judah Maccabee Goes to the Doctor is literally the most perfect, timely, resonant book for right now,” she says. 

    Judah Macca

    Read more »
  4. On Schlemiels, Friendship, and Hanukkah: Q & A with Author Eric Kimmel

    On Schlemiels, Friendship, and Hanukkah: Q & A with Author Eric Kimmel

    Over a long and distinguished career, Eric Kimmel has written all kinds of books for children. His latest, Shield of the Maccabees, marks a new first for him - a graphic novel.

    The new story, illustrated by Dov Smiley, is set in ancient Judea just before the very first Hanukkah and follows two friends - one Jewish and one Greek - as war comes to their land.  

    In an interview, Eric Kimmel tells us more.

    Why make a graphic novel now?

    Comic books were not considered literature when I was a kid. I hadn’t read any comics since junior high. My agent suggested I learn more about this format since it's now so popular. My friend Michelle McCann took me to Powell’s Bookstore in Portland and loaded me up

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  5. The Blessing of Bewilderment: A Message of Hope for Post-Pandemic Life

    The Blessing of Bewilderment: A Message of Hope for Post-Pandemic Life

    By Rabbi Abraham Skorka

    Excerpted from Returning to Life After the Storm: Hope and Wisdom from Jewish SourcesBehrman House, 2021 

     

    As you read this, the pandemic began about two years ago. Vaccines have since been created and have been found mostly effective, but too many people have also refused to take them, and too many people in the world have not had easy access to them.

    Read more »
  6. It's Sigd! Time to Celebrate - and Learn About - this Ethiopian Jewish Holiday

    It's Sigd! Time to Celebrate - and Learn About - this Ethiopian Jewish Holiday

    Sigd is a unique holiday of the Ethiopian Jewish community, celebrated exactly 50 days Yom Kippur. This year it falls on November 3-4.

    Sigd is recognized as a state holiday in Israel. Yet very few American Jews know about it.

    The holiday is celebrated on the date thought to be when God was first revealed to Moses. Traditionally on Sigd, members of the Ethiopian Jewish community would fast and walk together to a mountain top. Members of the community would recite Psalms and remember the Torah and their desire to return to Jerusalem. In the afternoon they would descend the mountain and end their fast with a feast and dancing. 

    In recent decades, the Ethiopian community in 

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  7. Golems and Goblins and Angels: Jewish Folklore for the Candy-and-Costume Crowd

    Golems and Goblins and Angels: Jewish Folklore for the Candy-and-Costume Crowd

    Candy and costumes are fun for children this time of year, and you too can tap into this energy as an opportunity to learn about Judaism's rich history of mysticism and folklore. Think golems, dybbuks, angels, and the like.

    Here are a few of our favorite storybooks for ages 5-8 that feature (non-scary) spirits and creatures:

    The Goblins of Knottingham 

    By Zoë Klein

    Long ago, in the town of Knottingham, there were three little goblins.

    Knotty was naughty, Knotsalot was no good, and Notnow was no good, no how, not then and not how!

    More than anything else, these mischievous goblins liked to tangle children's hair! Find out how the children fought

    Read more »
  8. New Graphic Novel Explores a Greek-Judean Friendship Set Against the Backdrop of Hanukkah

    New Graphic Novel Explores a Greek-Judean Friendship Set Against the Backdrop of Hanukkah

    Just before the very first Hanukkah, Greeks and Jews were living in an uneasy peace in ancient Judea.

    Jonathan, a Jewish boy, sees a Greek boy being attacked by bullies and stands up to defend him. They become best friends.

    But when war comes to their land, Jonathan joins the Maccabees while his friend Jason joins the Greek army. They seem destined to fight one another. How will their friendship survive?

    Shield of the Maccabees is a new story by award-winning author Eric Kimmel and illustrated by Dov Smiley.

    The graphic novel format focuses on the history of Hanukkah, and the context of the times. 

    "A fun and clever twist on the story of the Maccabees."- Steve Sheinkin, author and illustrator of The Adventures of

    Read more »
  9. Biographies of Heroes Help Explore Values and Character Traits

    Biographies of Heroes Help Explore Values and Character Traits

    Inspired by a groundbreaking exhibition at ANU - Museum of the Jewish People (formerly Beit Hatfutsot) in Tel Aviv and published by Behrman House, The Hero in Me is a series of short biographies to help students learn about themselves an their global Jewish community through five traits:

      • courage
      • kindness
      • creativity
      • curiosity
      • fairness

    Storytelling is perhaps the most effective way to convey meaning to children,” said David Behrman, publisher. “These biographies offer bite-size insights into what makes a hero, and how our young readers can build those qualities into their own

    Read more »
  10. Simple Tools to Help Teachers and Students Find Their Calm

    Simple Tools to Help Teachers and Students Find Their Calm

    The pandemic has been challenging for all of us, and even as we remain creative and resilient and dedicated, these uncertain times can make us - and our students - feel mentally and physically worn out. 

    Learning to practice self-care as a habit can help improve coping skills and mental health. 

    Here are a few techniques to try as we settle into another atypical school year.

    Practice being present

    Mindfulness is a catch word these days, and with good reason. It’s a way of being in the world, the ability to pay attention to the present moment, the here and now. There’s a growing body of research pointing to the effectiveness of mindful practices on our ability— both adults and children—to pay better attention, make thoughtful decisions and calm ourselves down. Our ability to be in the moment requires opportunities to pause and slow down together and individually.

    Read more »
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