Rainbow of Mitzvot; Hiddur P'nai Zaken
Honoring the Elderly
Subject: Mitzvah to Honor the Elderly
Target: Kindergartners and their families
Time Frame: Two Hours
Congregation: Shaare Emeth
Contributor: Ronnie Brockman
Rainbow of Mitzvot are grade level mitzvah projects developed to teach each grade level about a specific mitzvah. The congregation is invited to attend any of these mitzvah projects. This particular program is planned for families with Kindergarteners and focuses on honoring the elderly.
To learn about the mitzvah Hiddur P’nai Zaken.
Families participate in special projects with senior citizens, and thus fulfill the commandment of honoring the elderly and doing mitzvoth for them. Part of the program is to make a Dream Catcher which is a door hanging that keeps out bad dreams. It is a hoop made to look like a spider’s web and is of Native American origin. This craft is chosen because we can all relate to dreams.
Kindergartners and their families
Crown Center for Senior Living
Staff and Specialists
Crown Center Specialists; Music Specialist; Teachers; Family Educator
The family educator works with the teachers to plan this program. Contact the appropriate person at the Senior Living Center to arrange a day. Mail invitations three weeks before, publicize in the temple bulletin for other congregants to join the program.
- Short handout about the tradition of a Dream Catcher
- Chicken Soup by Heart by Esther Hershenhorn
- Dream Catcher instructions
- 3-6” wood or plastic hoops (one per person) which can be purchased at a place like Wal-Mart
- lots of different colored yarn
- 18-25 pairs of scissors (depends on size of group)
- masking tape
- tacky glue
- beads, feathers
- digital camera
- Sign for Entrance
- Clothes pins
- drinks, mini muffins, small plates, napkins, cups, trays
Families arrive, sign in, get nametags
Families are introduced to each other. They are given an overview of the program.
Teachers read and discuss the story Chicken Soup by Heart, which is a story about a boy Rudi and his grandmother.
Seniors arrive and students give them nametags. They introduce themselves and ask these two questions:
- What is your name and where were you born?
- What is your favorite holiday and why?
Participants are divided into groups and are seated around tables. The family Educator leads a discussion on what Judaism says about the importance of fulfilling the Mitzvah, Hiddur P’nai Zaken. All participants are asked to think about a special time they spent with their grandparent(s) or other older adult. They share this with their group.
One of the educators explains that Dream Catchers are door decorations and are Native American in origin. They catch bad dreams and let good dreams go down to the person who is sleeping.
Families work with the senior citizens to make door Dream Catchers.
If time, families make a Dream Catcher for themselves.
Snack – kindergarteners serve drinks and mini muffins (trays, cups, juice, mini muffins, napkins or small plates)
Singing with music specialist
Closing: Family Educator thanks the group
The main cost is for supplies.
References and Resources
Hershenhorn, Esther Chicken Soup by Heart Simon and Schuster, Inc 2002
Questions and ideas for discussion about Chicken Soup by Heart
www.wikipedia.org and www.nativetech.org
Resources on the internet that give a history of Dream Catchers and explain how to make them.
To learn how to make a Dream Catcher