Tag Archives: Purim

Need last-minute shaloch manos ideas?

I am a bit behind this year with blogging and Purim preparations with juggling my family, teaching, freelance writing, and household tasks. I am sure many of you can relate. Some years I start early and don’t have to wait until the last minute to do everything. At least I still have a week to go!

In case you are behind and want some ideas, I have a few tips for shaloch manos from those we received and made last year. Take a look!

Shaloch manos:

Last year, we made shaloch manos inspired by a teacher appreciation gift I saw somewhere.  I found the instructions by Googling “teacher appreciation water bottle gift.” I unfortunately cannot find the site I used, but if you look on Pinterest there are many similar ideas. They each vary in complexity and difficulty. I chose an easy idea that did not use brads or lots of different layers of paper. It was cute, but the holders did keep sliding off during delivery (even though they were tied on).

I used a variety of scrapbook papers, scrapbooking stickers, small labels (for the message), and my tape runner (to adhere the pocket). We inserted a Crystal Light drink mix packet and attached a granola bar to the back. A bow and tape secured it all together.




Some other FAVORITE SHALOCH MANOS we received last year are shown below:


Movie theme – popcorn box, chocolate bar, microwave popcorn, Coca Cola, and hamantashen. (Great idea Larry & Lori!)



Pizza theme – a whole meal in a pizza box: hamantashen pizzas, peppers, Bissli, chocolate bar, chocolate drink and a few other goodies. (Thank you Michelle and Ephraim!)



Red, White and Blue theme – Red licorice, white Airheads, Oreos (blue package), and hamantashen. (Thanks Wende and Don!)


Berry theme – all foods with a berry flavor! (Thanks Shari and Rabbi!)



Nautical theme – this family always chooses a container and costume themes to match. They include a photo of the family on their shaloch manos container or label. They are amazing! (Thanks Bella and Yosef!)


Decorative box – I loved this box so much that I use it in my classroom for treats! (Thanks Tammy and Mark!)

For more inspiration, check out my friend Mara’s (from Kosher on a Budget) awesome Shaloch Manos ideas:

Related posts:


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St. Louis Jewish Orthodox Community – Purim Megillah Readings 2014


It is time for my annual post sharing the Orthodox Megillah readings here in St. Louis. (I apologize to my non-St. Louis readers that this post will not apply to you. However, you may skip down to the bottom for other Purim-related posts.) This is particularly helpful for moms with young children who are not old enough to stay up (or be quiet) during Megillah readings. It is also helpful for those having to work around their “work” schedules.

Here is my current list as of 3:30 p.m. on Friday, March 7. If you see any errors or have any additions, let me know and I will update the post.

Saturday, March 15:

8:00 p.m.        Beit Shira, at The Cedars, 13190 S. Outer 40, Town and Country, MO 63017

8:15 p.m.        Tpheris Israel Chevra Kadisha
xx                  Agudas Israel
xx                  U City Shul (formerly Beth Hamedrosh Hagadol Sha’arei Chesed)
xx                  Bais Abraham
xx                  Young Israel
xx                  Congregation Bais Menachem

8:30 p.m.        Nusach Hari B’nai Zion

9:45 p.m.        Torah Prep Boys School, reading for women

10:00 p.m.      Young Israel, Beit Medrash

Sunday, March 16:

6:30 a.m.        Young Israel Shacharis in Beit Medrash, followed by Megillah, 7:10 a.m.

7:45 a.m.        Agudas Israel Shacharis followed by Megillah

8:00 a.m.        U City Shul Shacharis followed by Megillah
xx                  Bais Abraham Shacharis followed by Megillah, 8:30 a.m.
xx                  Young Israel, followed by Megillah, 8:35 a.m.
xx                  Nusach Hari B’nai Zion, followed by Megillah, 8:30 a.m.

8:30 a.m.        Congregation Bais Menachem Shacharis, followed by Megillah, 9:00 a.m.
xx                  Beit Shira with the Block Yeshiva boys, at The Cedars, 13190 S. Outer 40, Town and Country

8:40 a.m.        Tpheris Israel Chevra Kadisha

9:30 a.m.       Women’s Megillah Reading, home of the Goldmeiers, 219 Topton Way, Clayton

10:15 a.m.     Agudas Israel, reading for women
xx                 Aish HaTorah, Purim celebration including an “original” megillah reading
xx                    brunch afterwards (cost $8 adult, $5 child (ages 5 – 11), free pony rides for kids 11:30 – 12:30

11:00 a.m.      Young Israel, by Levy Zimand for his bar mitzvah

11:30 a.m.      Epstein Hebrew Academy

5:00 p.m.       Congregation Bais Menachem

Related fliers:

Agudas Israel: Agudah.Purim.Schedule.2014

Bais Abraham: Bais Abe Purim flyer 2014

* For more information on any of the shuls, please contact them individually. Here is a link to all of the congregations here in St. Louis.

Related posts:

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Posted by on March 7, 2014 in Family ideas, Holidays


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Kids’ Mitzvah Checklist for Purim

little_kingPurim is not a holiday that really needs help being fun, but I wanted to make a Mitzvah Checklist for the holiday anyway. My kids really enjoyed the ones I made for Rosh Hashanah and Sukkos. They loved getting to put stickers on their charts when they completed a mitzvah. We had a fun outing after we completed one of the charts and the boys earned a prize after the other.

The charts helped my kids get excited about each mitzvah that’s part of the holiday and it helped them learn all the ways they could help and participate.

Here is one for this holiday. You can print one out for each of your kids. Kids’ Mitzvah Checklist for Purim

Religious school and day school teachers may even want to send it home with their students as a family activity. Again, thank you to for the great clipart.

Related posts:

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Posted by on February 21, 2013 in Family ideas, Holidays


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St. Louis Orthodox Community — Purim Megillah Readings 2013

Purim Hamentashen

Purim Hamentashen (Photo credit: slgckgc)

I apologize to my non-St. Louis readers that this post will not apply to you. However, it is time for my annual post sharing the Orthodox Megillah readings here in St. Louis. This is particularly helpful for moms with young children who are not old enough to stay up (or be quiet) during Megillah readings. It is also helpful for those having to work around their “work” schedules.

Here is my current list as of 10:30 a.m. on Friday. I could not get in touch with anyone at the Central West End minyan or St. Louis Hillel.

Saturday night, February 23, 2013:

6:32 p.m.         Ma’ariv at Agudas Israel, megillah reading to follow

6:55 p.m.         Sha’arei Chesed (U City Shul), followed by melave malka with entertainment, babysitting free

7:00 p.m.         Beit Shira, at The Cedars Synagogue (Meadowview Building), 13190 South Outer 40 Road
                     Havdalah followed by 7:05 p.m. reading by Rabbi Gertzulin, songs & refreshments.

                    Lazaroff Chabad Center on Delmar

7:15 p.m.         Nusach Hari by Rabbi Mintz (following 7 p.m. Ma’ariv). Bring non-perishables, pers. care items.

Young Israel Ma’ariv/Megillah by Rabbi Rovinsky and Max Gornish

Levites Chabad House at 7018 Forsyth at Big Bend

Bais Abraham

7:30 p.m.        Young Israel, Purim play for children – Grades 2 and under

x                     Tpheris Israel Chevra Kadisha (TICK) (second reading TBA)

8:15 p.m.         Young Israel Costume parade

8:30 p.m.         Torah Prep boys’ school – additional reading for women

9:15 p.m.         Young Israel 2nd Megillah reading in the Beit Midrash by Rabbi Shulman

10:00 p.m.       Young Israel Purim Murder Mystery, $5/person. Themed costumes welcome

x                      Agudas Israel Purim party

Sunday day, February 24, 2013:

7:10 a.m.         Young Israel in the Beit Midrash (following 6:30 a.m. minyan)

7:30 a.m.         Shacharis at Agudas Israel, megillah reading to follow

8:30 a.m.         Nusach Hari by Rabbi Rovinsky (following 8:00 a.m. Shacharis)

8:35 a.m.         Young Israel by Rabbi Shulman (following 8:00 a.m. Shacharis)

                    Sha’arei Chesed (U City Shul), free babysitting, donations appreciated

8:40 a.m.         TICK (second reading TBA)

9:00 a.m.         Bais Abraham

                     Beit Shira, at The Cedars Synagogue (Meadowview Building), 13190 South Outer 40 Road
x                      Reading by Rabbi Gertzulin with the Block Yeshiva boys (following 8:30 a.m. Shacharis)

x                     Lazaroff Chabad Center on Delmar (following 8:30 a.m. Shacharis)

9:30 a.m.         Women’s Megillah Reading at Bonnie Goldmeier’s home in Clayton

10:00 a.m.       Aish HaTorah, with Powerpoint presentation and rabbis’ skit

x                     Agudas Israel

10:30 a.m.       Epstein/NCSY/B’nei Akiva Purim Carnival at Epstein

11:00 a.m.       Young Israel Beit Midrash

2:00 p.m.         Purim Re-enactment Parade at Gay & Cornell

4:00 p.m.         Lazaroff Chabad Center on Delmar

4:15 p.m.         Levites Chabad House at 7018 Forsyth at Big Bend

Fliers from some of the shuls:

* For more information on any of the shuls, please contact them individually. Here is a link to all of the congregations here in St. Louis.


Posted by on February 18, 2013 in Family ideas, Holidays


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Purim is coming too fast!

Last year I started preparing for Purim early and really worked hard not to leave everything to the last-minute. I was so happy not to be finishing my boys’ costumes right before the sueda! However, this year, with my new job, it has been hard to get started early. Now I am down to one week before Purim and so much to do: costumes to make, shaloch manos to assemble, and food to cook. Luckily we are not hosting a sueda, so that is one less large task.

Thankfully all of my past research and checklists will help me get through it all. Here is my Purim checklist that you can adapt for your needs: Purim prep.

We did our shopping today for our shaloch manos supplies (thank you Costco) and spent the afternoon making shaloch manos as part of a charity project we have done for the past 16 years. Now my goal is to get supplies for my kids’ costumes. I always have luck finding ideas at Family Fun or Parenting magazines’ websites, so I will check there again. Here are a few links to check out:

Here are my kids from last year — my oldest as a knight and my little ones as superheroes.


If you are like me and are behind in your Purim preparations, here are a few of my older posts to help you:


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Back to school: Jewish learning resources

Normally at this time of year, I am starting to get things ready for the school year and setting up my classroom. However, this will be my second year working for the Child Abuse Prevention Program at Jewish Family & Children’s Service. I don’t need to get my own classroom ready, but it is always great to find good resources for my own children. It is so helpful to have websites to go to for accessing holiday ideas, projects, information sheets, etc. for different things my children are studying.

For this post, I wanted to provide Jewish resources that you could use whether you are a parent, homeschooler, or teacher. You might even find them helpful for your own reference if you have no children at all! While this post will not save you money, it will sure save you time and energy when you want to find an activity or idea!

This is one of my favorite Jewish resources. I used it a lot when I taught preschool as well as third grade. I also found some great additions and activities for our family seder last year. You can search for materials based on age (early childhood, elementary, middle school, high school, special education, administration, or kiruv) or by topic (which includes Torah, Hebrew language, Interactive classroom, Yamim Tovim, Halacha/Dinim, Arts and Crafts, and more). This site, which is sponsored by Torah Mesorah and the Avi Chai Foundation, allows educators to upload and share a variety of resources with other educators and parents. The resources often include not just instructions, but typed resources (or pdfs) ready to copy or change as needed. Many include photos as well. Additional resources include clip art, forums, audio/video, Olomeinu archives, and more. Their database grows daily!

Organized Jewish Home

I have mentioned this blog before, as it has some great resources and articles. The author is a homeschooling Orthodox mom who writes about many topics of interest to frum families: menu planning, holiday preparations, activities for kids, organization, recipes, and more. She posts resources for each parsha that are particularly helpful if you homeschool or if your children attend a public school and you want to supplement their Jewish learning. She also has a “Shalom Bayit Book” that is somewhat similar to my Family Control Journal. See my post on “Starting a Family Control Journal.” Check it out and let her know I sent you!

Central Agency for Jewish Education, St. Louis (CAJE)

This is the website for our local Jewish education agency. They have a section for Teacher Resources that is helpful for families as well. It includes Beginning of the Year materials, board games, Shabbat materials, holiday materials, Hebrew letter review materials, Hebrew prayer materials, links to other teacher resources, and early childhood resources. I can’t wait to use some of the Hebrew ideas and board games with my own children!

Related posts:

Do you know of any other great Jewish education resources? Please share them in the Comments section!

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Posted by on August 9, 2012 in Email and online tips, Family ideas


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Shaloch Manos Gallery 2012

Sorry to post this so late, but I wanted to share with you the great ideas that some of our friends and family came up with for shaloch manos this year.


Breakfast or lunch foods: This year several of our friends did breakfast shaloch manos with things like cereal, juice boxes, muffins, instant coffee, creamer, etc.

Outdoor/fitness: My friends Lori and Larry used a frisbee and covered it with a sports drink, a Clif bar, squeezable applesauce, and hamantashen. They even painted the outside of the frisbee with chalkboard paint and included chalk so you could draw on it! What a clever idea!

Movie night: My friend Wendy used a popcorn box and then included microwave popcorn, a can of soda and a Hershey’s chocolate bar.

Poem: My friend Shari included a Purim poem and then included certain foods that matched words from the poem. Another set of friends, Sara and Hyim, did a similar thing with a different poem. Our friends Michelle and Ephraim used the Red Solo cup song and included hamantashen, a small Rum bottle, Coke, and one other item in a red Solo cup.

Food person: My friend Vicki adhered her food items together to form a man. The head was a single serve applesauce, the arms – Laffy Taffy, the body – a juicebox, and the feet – boxes of raisins. The result was very cute!

Other themes I have seen in past years:
- items of only a certain color
- a rainbow poem and then items of each color of the rainbow
- foods all from a particular country (like Chinese food, all Italian, or all Israeli products)
- foods all including a certain ingredient (my friend Gilat made homemade chocolate sauce and included other chocolate items last year) 


Our friends Bella and Yosef and Stacy and Michael always include a family picture on their labels. It makes a nice touch and I love to save them for my scrapbook.

Great containers:

As you know, I am very conscientious about recycling and reusing. I always try to find a container or bag that can be reused. Some examples of containers I have used in the past have included: cloth drawstring bags, plastic containers (like Gladware), and soft plastic square boxes (from Garden Ridge). This year we used plastic cups from the dollar store.

Mid-way through filling the cups.

My cousin Sharone used a bandana for her shaloch manos this year. It looked great and can be reused easily!

Our neighbors Charlotte and Joseph used a pretty Spring basket. I think it will look great on the table with napkins or benchers!

My friend Wendy used a white paper bag. With ribbon tied at the top and a pretty label, she turned this simple container into something beautiful!

Other ideas that I have seen in past years include:
- handmade bags made of fabric
- dollar store baskets of all kinds
- wire baskets

I love anything I can reuse for decoration, serving food, or giving with a gift later!

Please keep in mind that using any of these ideas will depend on your budget, how many shaloch manos you are making, and what items you want to include.

Please share any ideas you have seen or created in the Comments section.


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Purim wrap-up

Gaily wrapped baskets of sweets, drinks and ot...

I know it is almost Shabbos and we are already thinking about the weekend and Pesach, but before we move on, we need to wrap up Purim. This is a good time to make notes and reflect on what went well and didn’t go well this holiday.

Remember that Purim checklist I gave you in my post “Purim costumes and preparations,” well get it out and make some notes. Here are some suggestions:

Overall preparations:
∞ Were you doing things last-minute? How many days would you ideally have liked to start getting ready? Mark this down for next year.

Shaloch Manos:
∞ Did you forget anyone on your shaloch manos list that you want to add for next year? Make a note on your list (or as I do, a column on my Excel address book).

Costumes and Shaloch Manos:
∞ Any ideas you liked that you might want to use for next year – either costumes or shaloch manos (foods and containers)?

∞ Any notes about the sueda (either preparation, decorations, guest list, etc.) that you want to remember for next year? If you went out, anything you forgot to bring with you?

Put these notes into your typed form and reprint it. File it in your holiday binder and you are all set for next year!

Stay tuned — over the weekend I plan to post all the great shaloch manos we received this year (that will be good inspiration for next year).


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St. Louis Orthodox Community — Purim Megillah Readings 2012


I apologize to my non-St. Louis readers that this post will not apply to you. However, I wanted to do a post listing all of the Orthodox Megillah readings here in St. Louis. I know as a mom that it can be hard finding a time that will work for me to hear Megillah. I often cannot go with my whole family because my younger kids are not old enough to sit for that long. So I have to alternate going with my husband. Work schedules can also be tricky if you are not able to take off work on Purim day.

So I thought it would be nice to have a place where everyone could find out where all the Megillah readings are for Orthodox families.

Here is my current list as of 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

* Please note that I will make any changes and corrections if I hear of any, so check back!

Wednesday night, March 7, 2012:

6:30 p.m.        Bais Abraham (following 6:15 p.m. Ma’ariv)

6:40 p.m.        Nusach Hari B’nai Zion (following 5:30 p.m. Mincha & 6:30 p.m. Ma’ariv)

6:45 p.m.        BHH Sha’arei Chesed (following 5:30 p.m. Mincha/Ma’ariv)
                   Chabad Lazaroff Center (following 6:30 p.m. Ma’ariv)
x                    Young Israel (following 6:30 p.m. Ma’ariv)

6:50 p.m.        Tpheris Israel Chevra Kadisha

7:00 p.m.        Agudas Israel (following 6:30 p.m. Ma’ariv)

8:15 p.m.        Young Israel (second reading)

8:30 p.m.        Torah Prep Boys’ School

9:00 p.m.        Home of Rabbi & Mrs. Gertzulin

Thursday day, March 8, 2012:

6:45 a.m.        BHH Sha’arei Chesed (following 6:00 a.m. Shacharis)
x                    Home of Rabbi & Mrs. Gertzulin

7:00 a.m.        Nusach Hari B’nai Zion (following 6:30 a.m. Shacharis)
x                    Tpheris Israel Chevra Kadisha

7:15 a.m.        Young Israel (following 6:30 a.m. Shacharis)
x                    Bais Abraham (following 6:30 a.m. Shacharis)

7:30 a.m.        Agudas Israel

8:30 a.m.        Chabad Lazaroff Center (following 8:00 a.m. Shacharis)

8:40 a.m.        Tpheris Israel Chevra Kadisha (NEW ADDED TIME)

8:45 a.m.        Young Israel (following 8:00 a.m. Shacharis)

9:00 a.m.        Epstein Hebrew Academy (Community Reading following 8:00 a.m. Shacharis)
                   Tpheris Israel Chevra Kadisha

9:30 a.m.        Women’s Megillah Reading (at the home of Faye Newman)

10:00 a.m.      Agudas Israel

11:30 a.m.      Young Israel

4:00 p.m.        Young Israel

4:30 p.m.        Chabad Lazaroff Center
x                    Aish HaTorah Firehouse

* For more information on any of the shuls, please contact them individually. Here is a link to all of the congregations here in St. Louis.

Related files:

- Young Israel Purim 2012 Flier
Bais Abe Purim 2012 Flier

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Posted by on March 6, 2012 in Family ideas, Holidays


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Purim costumes and preparations

Purim is right around the corner and I am really trying not to leave all of my preparations to the last-minute. I always am super organized about what needs to be done, but actually executing it seems to happen too late. Here are some tips to get you on the road to an enjoyable Purim.

Know what needs to be done:

As I talked about in my post “Review:” I have a checklist for each of the holidays and Shabbos. It helps me remember exactly what needs to be done and I love crossing things off as I accomplish them. It also is a great place to record notes and tips from year to year.

Click here to download my Purim prep list.

Coming up with costume ideas:

Many Halloween costumes are made for winter weather. However, Purim weather can be hit or miss. Sometimes warm, sometimes cold. So I rarely buy pre-made Halloween costumes. They can also be quite expensive. However, if you can borrow or swap with someone else, that is always a great idea. Around Halloween time, you can also check resale shops for some good deals.

Here is a timeline of Purim costumes for my kids over the years.

2006: My oldest son was Elmo. This was his first year dressing up. He had an Elmo shirt that he loved and I paired it with a red long-sleeved shirt and red sweatpants.

2007: Pregnant with my triplets and working in a new job, I was a bit behind on Purim prep, so we borrowed a Tigger costume from my best friend, Lori. My oldest son loved it!

2008: This year I had triplets less than a year old and certainly no time to figure out costumes. My oldest was Buzz Lightyear, also thanks to my friend, Lori, and her endless supply of costumes of all sizes! The little boys wore frog bibs and matching frog jumpers from my Aunt Cathy.

2009: This was the first year I made a costume. I love to do crafts and this year was determined to make something for my oldest son. I took a piece of velvet fabric and used fabric sticky seam to fold in the sides to make it look like a cape. I lined the edges with a gold trim and sewed/glued a clasp onto the neck. He had a matching crown from school and we found a scepter at the party supply store. He added a cheap party necklace. This has become his favorite dress-up costume. The little boys were too young to dress up or go out, so I did not have to come up with a costume for them.

2010: This year I made costumes for all the boys. They decided on tigers. I followed an idea from Family Fun magazine where you decorated a black sweatshirt and sweatpants with duct tape. Unfortunately, Wal-Mart ran out of orange duct tape, so I had one orange tiger and three white tigers.

2011: All the boys had their own ideas for what they wanted to be this year. Which, of course, meant FOUR different costumes. My oldest wanted to be a wizard, and the little boys wanted to be a teddy bear, cat, and dog. Again, I got the ideas from Family Fun Magazine. I cut out spots from felt and safety-pinned them to sweatpants and sweatshirts. Then I made headbands with attached ears made of sticky felt. The little boys still love to wear their animal ear headbands. My oldest also still loves to dress up in his wizard costume.

Another great source for costume ideas is Parenting Magazine. Here are links to Family Fun Magazine’s and Parenting Magazine’s costume ideas.

This year, my oldest wants to be a knight, to continue his medieval interest. I hope that one won’t be too hard! The little boys thankfully want to be superheroes. I already have capes that we bought them for Chanukah, so their’s will hopefully be easy!

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Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Email and online tips, Family ideas, Holidays


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