The art of instilling Passover traditions

Projects to teach kids about Jewish culture

art PASSOVER  image

Traditions are foundations for lasting memories. Incorporating repeated customs is grounding and nourishing for the soul. I prioritize this as an educator with my students. Whether we are starting our day with gratitude by reciting Modeh Ani or learning how class celebrates Shabbat, the beauty of how traditions are created is evident.  

As I reflect on my own family's Passover traditions, I think of the words, "L'shanah Haba'ah b'yerushalayim Ha-bnu-yah!" ("Next year in Rebuilt Jersualum!") Singing this song is one of many family Passover traditions. I can still hear my late grandfather's deep voice leading us in this niggun (Jewish religious song or tune). Together, we would rejoice, hand in hand, in the hora around the table. According to my Savta Rita, "Papa loved to sing and was just always happy being together. He had such joy getting everyone up to sing and dance together."  

I appreciate more of these special moments as I grow older, and I am thankful that my own children will learn these traditions and deepen their connection to Jewish rituals. It is a constant reminder of the value of traditions that my grandfather instilled in us, and how meaningful it is that we continue to honor his legacy.  

My grandfather modeled love of the land of Israel and inspired me to always seek opportunities to be present there. As an artist, I see the world through colors, shapes, and wonder. I am amazed by the world G-d created, and I do my best to embrace the simplicity of nature whenever I can.  

Last summer, I had the opportunity to visit Israel. Breathing in the natural beauty, connecting with history, diving into the culture, and soaking up the layers of inspiration was an experience I will always remember. I found myself in awe, viewing the colorful layers of mountainous landscapes around Jerusalem like chromatic paintings and voluminous sculptures. Entering the old city, the concrete shapes of the architecture and historic features surround you. As I welcomed Shabbat in Jerusalem, I looked out to the picturesque and panoramic views of the hills and valleys. 

This Passover, I will focus on embracing my family's traditions. I'll invite my family and other families to partake in making window paper collages of the vibrant and scenic landscapes and shapely architecture of Jerusalem. As we sing of our aspirations to be in Jerusalem, this art piece will be a celebration of the serene views and subtle earthy colors.  

Exploring the makeup of places that are deeply rooted in our history and hearts deepens our understanding and appreciation of each other and the world around us. Art is a powerful vehicle for communication and connection. During these difficult times, let's use this seder to beautify the land of Israel and have rich conversations about the land.  

Materials

  • Assortment of paper (various textures, colors, and patterns) 

  • Cardstock 

  • Glue sticks 

  • Basic scissors and craft scissors 

  • Variety of picture frames (I thrifted and repurposed!) 

Jerusalem window paper collage process: 

  1. Research images of the scenery in Jerusalem. The old city, hills, greenery, the stones, unique arches, and cityscapes. What shapes and forms do you notice?  

  1. For each collage, choose a frame and a piece of cardstock to be your collage base or background. You can also use the base of the frame. 

  1. Cut the paper into different shapes and forms. (My young daughters loved helping with this.) Then design and layer the paper into unique landscapes of Jerusalem. You can cut or tear the paper to add texture or distinctive shapes.  

  1. Lay out the landscape design first and then begin to glue and add on as you go. 

  1. Once the paper collage is dry, place back into the frame. 

  1. You can create many variations of these collages and even have a "window" by everyone's place at the seder table.

  1. Further suggestions:  

  1. Invite in other found materials that might enhance the art. (My son loved incorporating a Jerusalem bracelet into his piece!) 

  1. Ask everyone to bring a photo of them in Israel or a favorite place there and share a story about it, encouraging conversation and storytelling.  

Rena Grosser-a Judaic Atelierista and mother of three-is an Early Childhood Educator at Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School and has a background in art therapy.  




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