We have great activities for children of all ages on Shabbat in the Fall, Winter and Spring. See upcoming Shabbat information in the sidebar to the right and see our calendar for future activities.
UT’s Tot Shabbat, led by popular guitarist and singer Ora Fruchter, is for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers – accompanied by their adult guests, of course. Everyone joins in singing, dancing, and storytelling to welcome Shabbat. There’s plenty of challah and grape juice to go around, too. For complete list of dates see our calendar.
Ora Fruchter is a Brooklyn based puppeteer, performer, director and educator. Ora writes and performs regularly with her companies Yellow Sneaker Puppets and Doppelskope, using puppetry and music to create innovative and engaging experiences for all ages. You can learn more about her work on her website, www.yellowsneakerpuppets.com.
Out of the Shabbox, a cross-cultural, interfaith, interactive and free drop-in program for children up to age 5, uses movement, music, and storytelling to explore Shabbat themes such as peace and charity. We start and end with snacks and in between we sing, dance and tell stories about the things we value and that unite us. For complete list of dates see our calendar.
The Out of the Shabbox team:
Julie Gayer Kris is Artistic Director of Avodah Dance and Artist-in-Residence at the 14th Street Y’s LABA Kids. She also leads dance workshops for preschoolers, teens and Jewish educators.
Shawn Shafner is creator of the POOP Project, plays Pablo in Nickelodeon’s The Backyardigans Live!, is a Storahtelling Artist-in-Residence at JCC Manhattan Zabar Nursery School, and a teaching artist with Arts for All.
Ben Rubin is a mixer, composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist. He performs in North America and Europe, has recorded over 80 albums, and his music has appeared in many feature films and TV shows. Visit benrubin.com.
Amanda Miller is a writer, actor, yoga instructor and Community Word Project trained teaching artist who has been teaching in NYC’s Jewish community since 2011. She has taught drama and yoga at Sprout Brooklyn Day Camp for the past two summers and currently teaches at Union Temple and Kolot Chayeinu. Amanda also trains B’nai Mitzvah students for Storahtelling/Lab-Shul and performs original family-friendly Torah-themed scripts at Temple Emmanu-El once a month. www.onebreaththenanother.com.
A lively service for children of all ages and their families followed by a festive potluck dinner. Children 0-5 are invited to come dressed in their pajamas. The service ends at 7:15PM—early enough to get the youngest home to bed. But everyone who can is welcome to stay for dinner, followed by supervised play for children and time to schmooze for the adults. Come for as short—or as long—a time as works for your family! We ask that you bring a main course, salad, side dish or dessert for 10 people: no nuts, but home-cooked or take-out is fine. The evening wraps up by 9:30PM. See the UT Calendar and plan on coming to our next Family Shabbat/Pajama Shabbat.
UT’s special High Holy Day children’s services are noted for their warmth and music and accessibility. They begin an hour before the adult services so that parents may attend with their children. Professional child care is available at no cost in our large preschool playroom during the adult services so parents of young children are able to attend.
Youngsters in the Religious School decorate the UT sukkah with their handmade creations. All families and children have a chance during the 8 days of Sukkot to enter the sukkah, say blessings and partake of earth’s bounty.
The entire congregation comes together to light the menorah, feast on latkes with all the trimmings, sing Hanukkah songs with our student cantor and musicians, and, in the glow of the Chanukah candles, reflect on the meaning of the holiday.
The topsy-turvy Purim carnival includes games, hamentaschen, performances, and a wild Purim-shpiel during which everyone enjoys drowning out the name of Hamen. Children (and most adults) dress up in fantastic costumes as Queen Esther, Mordechai, Hamen and others making this easily the most colorful day of the year.
On Passover the traditional symbols of the holiday – matzah, maror, salt water, lamb shank, and bitter herbs – are embodied in a variety of chocolate forms during our school-wide chocolate seder, making the story of the Exodus both delicious and memorable.
Looking for Jewish-themed books for your child? You’re invited to sign up for PJ Library. Through this program, children from age six months to eight years receive high-quality, age-appropriate Jewish children’s literature and music – FREE! Among the books and CDs PJ Library has sent to families are: Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback; Before You Were Born by Howard Schwartz and beautifully illustrated by Kristina Swarna; and the lullaby CD Every Little Soul Must Shine, written and sung by Neshama Carlebach.
These great books are often featured at our Out of the Shabbox and Fridays @ 4 programs described above.