But during the stretches of time between finding those schooling gems, in the months when were travelling, or had just touched down in a new location and were finding our footing, and even now, on weekends and holidays, I keep wishing that we had more to fully engage our children in our Jewish traditions in our home. Not just a book about Hanukkah, or a plush Torah, or a plywood Alef Bet puzzle (though these things are also great!) but something that would help us do the same type of exploration and investigation from within that they do at preschool, but within our home environment. For us this would be in addition to the practices and items we already draw upon -- Shabbat and holiday meals with family and friends, our weekly trek to the synagogue, designing and then using a tzedaka (charity) box as the most worthwhile place for our spare change -- but for many people these items I'm imagining may represent a starting point for bringing Jewish traditions into the home.
It is also the case that in the midst of all this mothering/obsessing over spiritual pedagogy, I am also an artist very much in need of making art and despite my inward-facing tendencies, wanting to do so in community with other artists considering similar questions. And so, part of my investigations in this space will involve trying to figure out what that would look like. How I would love there to be a place, a real place, or many, that would provide artists with a viable avenue for producing work with Jewish themes for children that would actually be seen and used by more than just a handful of people.
A little note is in order at this point: I am writing these thoughts from within a Jewish framework, since that's where I'm coming from. My goal will be to speak to the broadest spectrum of Jewish denominations/streams possible, given that those divisions are most often unnecessary or irrelevant to children and to the types of true engagement we wish to encourage. I hope and expect that my musings might be helpful to people from other faith traditions -- feel free to transpose the basic ideas in a way that is relevant for you!