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The Bible in Rhyme

By Ellen Zimmerman on Oct 08, 2015 12:19 am

The Bible in RhymeI was totally intrigued by a series of books written by author/poet Marcia Goldlist about the Bible in Rhyme, including“Enjoying Genesis: The Bible in Rhyme.” 

Here are a few of the verses, to give you a flavor:

Then, in the sky, God put shining lights 

To separate days from nights,

And also to be signs,

For the days, years and holidays of all kinds. 

The shining lights with the brightest rays

Would be in charge of days,

While the one with dimmer light

Would be in charge of night.

A big thanks to Marcia for this post.

Every week we are lucky enough to have a holiday – Shabbat. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that this too is a holiday, just like Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot, which we just celebrated. One of the important aspects of Shabbat is that we gradually read the whole Torah throughout the year.

Ways to talk about the Torah portion at home

Since we are at the beginning of the Torah cycle, this is a great time to start reading and discussing the Torah portion every week.

Where to discuss the Torah portion?

  • while at the Shabbat table
  • sitting around the living room on Shabbat afternoon
  • while preparing for Shabbat
  • any other family time

What should I read with my child?

For very young children, you might want to read a Bible story book with lots of pictures based on the weekly portion. But don’t stop there because your child can handle more and that will only interest the youngest children. Also, the more different ways that you present the Torah, the more that it will interest your children – and yourself. After all, different people absorb and are interested by different styles.

Read Enjoying Genesis: The Bible in Rhyme out loud with your children. This is the actual book of Genesis (minus long lists of names and places) written in rhyming couplets. Even if your child doesn’t understand all the words (which you can explain to them) they will listen because of the rhyme. For young readers, you may want to buy the large print edition to make reading easier.

Take it up a notch

  1. Read the parsha (weekly Torah portion) using various voices for different parts.
  2. Let your children act out the situation as you read.
  3. With parshas that have people speaking have your children read various “parts.”
  4. After you have read the portion, or a segment of it, have your children act it out in their own way.
  5. Read your child part of the parsha and have them draw an appropriate picture. If you do this throughout the week, by the end of the week you can put together a book of the parsha in pictures. Or have your child pick one aspect of the parsha each week to draw about.
  6. If your children are musical, have them pick a verse or two that they can make into a song.

Discussion and activities

Enjoying Genesis: The Bible in Rhyme Workbook has lots of discussion questions and activities which will get your kids – and you – thinking about and relating to the people, events, and various aspects of the parsha. Although it is geared to children from about eleven, much of the material can easily be adapted to younger children.

  1. Explain the questions in words that your child will understand.
  2. Help your child think out answers by discussing them with you.

Reading and discussing the Torah portion with your child will not only bring your child (and you) closer to the Torah and Shabbat, but also to each other.

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