Today, I was asked about our Torah Club nine week challenge. I realized that I have never wrote up what we did last summer to prepare for the fall feasts.
Nine weeks before the fall feast began last year, I felt an urgency to be sure all my children had gone through the Torah at least once. Since we had just recently added Mary to our family, I knew she had not gone through the whole Torah. I also knew that even though we read and studied the portions weekly, many of my children had sort of gotten “bored” with it all. So, I figured out that if I did six portions a week I could get through the whole Torah just in time for the fall feasts to begin.
I wanted it to be fun and interesting, not just sitting and reading. My young adult children were all serving as missionaries during the summer, so I would need to be able to keep the kids attention and have fun, or it would be chaos. The kids I had at home were 2, 4,5, 6,8,10,11,and 12. This was a big range, I decided to do club during the 2 year old’s nap.
I started the time out with some fun children’s worship songs, many songs I remembered for children’s church as a child. I tried to match the songs with the theme of the portions. And then we would wiggle and jump then we would sit down and begin reading. I would read a few chapters at a time, but if a child had something to comment on they could raise their hand. We would discuss the reading as we went. My goal was to actually read a whole Torah portion a day and ask questions on it. Sometimes they just couldn’t sit through the whole thing, and I would read the rest just before bed time. After reading and discussing each portion, we would do a verse from the portion. I would try and find the main theme of the portion, or a simple truth to memorize. We would recite it several times in silly ways. Then at the end everyone who listened well, got a sticker on special book marks I made them that said Torah Club on the Top. They each also had a book mark for saying the memory verse. Like any good club we would have a special snack afterward.
I did print out Torah portion coloring sheets of the internet for them to color as they listened.
Some tips, if your children are not used to sitting and listening to you for long periods of time, this may be a very difficult project.
- You may need to break it into 20 or 30 minute segments. My children start sitting and listening in a group sitting very young.
- Don’t get to upset if it appears a child is not listening, just keep going.
- If a child is being a distraction and is older then send them out of the room, and do the portion with them one on one later. (it is not worth the disruption to deal with them right that moment. )
- If the session isn’t going well at all, then just end it, and try again later in the day. It is not the end of the world.
- Don’t fly through the reading, even if it takes a lot longer than you thought it would, just have fun and keep going. (I have been reading orally with my kids for years, and i have been reading the Torah portions for a long time, so it is easy reading for me, and goes quickly. But it didn’t always go that quickly and easily.)
I am writing this post on August 29th, 2016. If you started your Torah Club today, you would finish just in time for the week of Sukkot. Maybe this is a good year for your family to take the challenge.