The Torah is the framework for Jewish identity. Though the Jewish people are a Diaspora people, our connection to our ancient land of Israel and the sacred text that was given to us through Moses continues to shape who we are as a people today. For many Jews, the Torah is a living book steeped in meaning and tradition. But for others, it’s a difficult read because of its dense content and difficult language. For parents who are struggling to understand their own faith but worry their kids will reject it if they learn about it too much, the Torah is an essential resource.
In this article, religious teacher Shmuel Waldman talks more about why the Torah matters so much, and how you can help your child feel connected to it during this special season.
Why is the Torah Important for Kids?
The Torah is important for kids not just because it offers them insights into the past, but also because it offers them a language-rich introduction to Judaism that is relevant for today’s world. This language is based on the grammar and vocabulary of Ancient Hebrew, which is different from Modern Hebrew. For example, the word “ketuba” (which means “house”) is an important word in the Torah, since it is used to describe the houses of Jewish communities during the Babylonian Exile. Kids can learn about this important history in a fun, engaging way. They can also learn about the roles of women, Jews, and Gentiles in the Exile with games, activities, and more.
Why is the Torah Important for Today?
The Torah contains some of Judaism’s most sacred texts, including the Five Books of Moses and Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. It also explains how the world has developed over thousands of years—and offers insights into today’s most pressing problems. This set of resources from The Lindisfarne Society helps you explain why your children should learn about Judaism from an early age using stories, games, activities and more!
The Torah has been a powerful influence for millennia. This influence can still be seen in the words of today’s children. Just as the words of the Bible have changed over time, so has the language of the Torah. For instance, the word “bara” (which means “gateway”) is used in the Torah to refer to a city, and not just a religious site. Kids can learn about this by starting with a simple story about a gate, and then adding details about what happened in the city where the gate once stood.
The Importance of a Simple reading
Reading the Torah is a simple exercise that can cause lifelong benefit. For instance, explains published author Shmuel Waldman, reading the Torah aloud can improve kids’ listening skills, and help them understand the relationship between spoken and written language.
It can also improve kids’ speaking skills, making them more confident and natural in their language use. Reading the Torah is also an important part of studying the Old Testament, which is the basis for the New Testament.
Kids can make learning easier by using the following resources to introduce themselves to the basics of the Old Testament:
A Simple Reading of the Torah: A Lesson in Language and Story Children learn the basics of language from the beginning with this fun and easy-to-read book. The story starts with two boys, Eliezer and Joshua, exploring a desert. They come upon a strange rock whereupon Eliezer recites the Lord’s Prayer in Hebrew. As he does so, we see a change in the rock. It becomes a gateway to heaven, and Eliezer and Joshua are led through it to the Land of Israel.
The Torah on a Shoe String: A Step-by-Step Guide to Reading the Torah This is a great starting point if you’re interested in learning the basics of reading the Torah. It explains the steps involved in reading the Torah aloud, and even includes sample sentences to get you started. The book has 26 lessons, which include stories, Torah codes, and more. Each lesson is organized into easy to understand topics, so your child is off and running after just a few pages.
Stories that explain why Judaism is important
Stories are great for kids because they can learn by looking at the world through the eyes of characters from a story. This helps them understand the world around them, and how everything works together for the good of everyone. The stories in this set of resources explain why Judaism is important to kids today. The stories are based on the Five Books of Moses, and they focus on the main themes of the books, which are loyalty, justice, freedom, and goodness, adds Shmuel Waldman.
Activities and games to help your kids understand why this is important to Jews today
Getting your kids interested in history can be challenging, but not impossible. Kids can learn about the history of Judaism using fun games, activities and lessons.
Pilgrim’s Progress: This is a classic story that inspires kids to go where God willed them to go. A good way to start teaching the story of Pilgrimage, this activity stars Jacob and his family on their journey from the Bible’s Old World to the New.
A Walk in the Clouds: This activity takes kids on a real-life journey, allowing them to walk with God in heaven. They’ll step into the shoes of Jesus and learn about what it’s like to be him as he walked through the clouds with God.