Has winter arrived in your part of the world? It has come to western PA and other parts of the US East Coast. The last I heard, you folks in Colorado were also getting a major snowstorm. Lest you think that you must suspend your use of nature until springtime arrives, remember that the earth is a full-time teacher, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, 52-weeks a year. Should you be blessed to live in a land covered with a thick blanket of snow, here are some fun ways to enjoy it while learning about Judaism.
1.Snow Candy: Snow candy is made by heating maple syrup and pouring it into the snow to harden. The trick to making the candy well is to pour the syrup in a twisting, flowing pattern that makes long strands of hardened syrup. Let the syrup harden for a minute before removing and break into pieces.
Of course, it is important to consume the candy before it thaws. This is a great activity to do before you take a winter hike or begin a chore like
You can eat the candy while you walk or work. Before enjoying its sweet taste, remember to give thanks to the Creator for this special treat. The traditional Jewish blessing to say when experiencing something new is called the She-he-che-yanu.
Loosely translated, it says "Thank you God, Ruler of the Universe, for keeping me alive and allowing me to experience this moment of joy"
When I work with young children or adults, I
say the traditional prayer in Hebrew or English and then say something like; "Thank you God for making it possible for me to enjoy this wonderful candy made from your creations." The specific words do not matter if they "come from the heart."
2. Snow Activity: How warm is snow and what does this have to do with Judaism? Snow is very cold, or is it? Here's a neat activity to do to find out whether snow is the cold white stuff we think of or the warm blanket that covers the earth. All you need to find out the answer are two outdoor thermometers and some snow. Take one of the thermometers and hang it from a tree or fence or lay it on a rock. Take the other thermometer and slip it gently under the snow. Be careful not to press down the snow around this thermometer. Wait half-a-day or overnight to check the temperature measured by each thermometer.
To find out what this has to do with Judaism, take a look at the Jewish Nature Quiz.
E-mail me and let me know what you find out. Reference the subject as "Project Snow" and I'll report on the findings in the Front Lines page as soon as I hear from you. In your report, tell me the air temperature, the ground temperature and the number of inches of snow covering your ground thermometer.