When I was growing up the Jewish holiday of Chanukah was considered a simple 8-day celebration with family, a few dreidels and a menorah (Chanukiah). By the time I had children of my own – Chanukah became a multi- zillion dollar industry! Why the change?
Many believe it is because of more and more interfaith families. Others think that parents wish to provide for their Jewish children an experience akin to families who celebrate Christmas.
So, when the Elf on the Shelf – a little elf doll from “Santa’s workshop”, made its’ debut a few years ago – it became quite the media and marketing sensation. Now enter the Maccabee on the Mantel, a plush toy with a storybook. At first I was a bit skeptical – was this another way for someone to market to interfaith families?
As an educator who for a decade taught Judaics in a Jewish Sunday School, I was pleased to see an educational book that told the story of Chanukah and also included a song and blessings. Then I went on to the website and learned a whole lot more from “behind the scenes”. The Maccabee on the Mantel is the brainchild of Abra Liberman-Garrett, and mom of two. The website offered this as a reason for her creation:
…And so she conceived the concept of a disarming and charming Macabee, a little boychick who would spread sunshine and delight to all the Jewish children who had him in their home. Abra’s children positively reveled in the joy of this modern tradition in the making. Now it is time to share this miracle of a Macabee with all those who are looking to create a fun family custom of their own.
For parents wishing to help share their Jewish culture, history and religious insights – this website is a welcome addition. I usually would put an age rating on a review – but this unique box set could be for young and old. The price is set for the box set – $34.95 on their website. Extra Maccabees and books can be purchased separately. Click here for their online store.
For additional fun go to Youtube and check out the videos from the “Maccabee on the Mantel”.
Nearly 25 years ago one of the worst earthquakes happened in the Bay area of California on October 17, 1989. If history was to repeat itself- would YOU be ready for an earthquake and potential tsunami. Join millions this THURSDAY, OCTOBER 16th at 10:16am for the North American Earthquake drill by ShakeOut.org
This video is in American Sign Language (ASL), voiced and open captioned.
Have you joined the SIGNING FAMILIES 31 DAYS ASL CHALLENGE on YouTube?! Each day during the month of October 2014 – I am uploading sign language videos for easy learning.
Here are this weeks signs and a video of #5 – FAMILY
In case you missed them here are the other signed videos from the first week of the ASL CHALLENGE!
Starting tomorrow, October 1st, I will be hosting a 31 days, 31 ASL CHALLENGE on YouTube. It is my goal to teach people FREE how to communicate using basic sign language. The signs will be geared for daily living and school terminology with a sprinkle of signs in the event of a disaster or medical emergency. Sign language has traditionally been considered only used within the Deaf community. However, more and more children and adults with Autism and Down Syndrome are now learning sign for communication, too! So many reason to learn!
Where to start?
First, set aside up to five minutes a day to learn some basic sign language and practice! If you subscribe to my Youtube channel you will receive reminders every time a new video is uploaded. Secondly, if you are so inclined, please share these one minute videos with others. And lastly, enjoy the journey of learning this visual language.
I live in California – the state where people live in sunshine more days than they do not. Where access to free and outdoor activities abounds. And, where this past week a serious threat to a local Pasadena high school was thwarted – thanks to the efforts of astute community members and law enforcement.
It isn’t yet September and we are talking about school violence as if it is an eventuality this new school year and no longer “breaking news”. How can this be?
So, I want to start a dialog and invite all respectful readers to join the conversation by answering this one complicated question with only ten words:
How can we make our schools safe for our students?
This week we lost two legends in the entertainment field- Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall. I adored them both. And, until the day when the internet came in to my life, I would spend my free time going to the movie theater or watching old classics on TV. Now I am absorbed by catching every news and soundbite about these two actors on various social media timelines.
Nothing that should get done IS getting done today. Damn that internet!
Now I fully understand that as a human I am given free will. But, let’s face it- those who are reading this blog also are giving some time to online media vs. other activities. At least for some of your day!
So, what I am to do? Well, for starters I believe I may need to implement “unplugged Saturdays and Sundays”. That way I can spend time with real people or at least view people on a larger screen than my laptop.
Of course, I won’t totally divorce the internet – just reduce our relationship to weekdays! So, let’s see if I can do this challenge!!
(Pause for some introspection and time to check the calendar)
Oh wait- it is almost the EMMY AWARDS! I guess my unplugged Saturdays and Sundays will need to be postponed until after August 25th when I am done covering the event as a social media correspondent for The Insider at CBS.
And for those two mega – stars- Robin and Lauren – May you rest in peace – sweet peace!
Dara: To win second place, of course! LOL! :-) If I don’t win, I’m glad people who never heard my music got a chance to listen and to share. Being a music educator, I’m always about spreading the word about the importance of music in all of our lives, be it writing, playing or just listening.
If you are a person who participates in social media on a regular basis then you probably are familiar with this hashtag – #IRL – In Real Life. That is when you meet someone from social media in person. Up close. No typing needed.
I first joined the social media world in 2008. Tweeting a few thoughts from time to time. Then I stumbled upon a group of educators and family experts and we joined a bit of a “group”. From there I hopped over to Facebook to extend my inner circle, followed by Pinterest, Instagram, Google +, Klout, Tumblr, etc.!
Many times I would wonder while “chatting” with my social media pals - If I met you in person would you be the same person you portray here in social media? Would you be so kind and generous or are you really an egotist or worse?
I am glad to report that I have met scores of my online connections and rarely was I disappointed. Yes, there were a few who I thought may have had giant egos and indeed they did – but they was few and far between.
I must say that meeting social media peeps in person gives the online experience a serious boost. The relationships are genuine, we know each other, and not only by our TWITTER handles, and truly do care.
So, if you are ever given a chance to meet social media friends #IRL – I hope your experiences will be as positive as mine.
Enjoy the slideshow of some of the many friends I have met and follow them on TWITTER, if you wish (their handles are under the photos).