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Please avail yourselves of the cornucopia below. Please share it with your families. We wish you a summer filled with fun and Jewish learning!

The Blessing Of Family Reading

Enriching Your Family With Jewish Books And Reading

The Jewish people have been called the "People of the Book." While this refers to our attachment to the Hebrew Bible [TaNaH], it can be applied to the importance of Jewish literacy in our community. Summer is a great time to catch up on all the wonderful Jewish reading that is available for our learning and pleasure while the pace is a bit slower.

Join the Auerbach Central Agency for Jewish Education's Jewish Family Summer Reading Club and make a commitment to "link" your family to Jewish reading! Find suggested reading lists, a special bookmark, and more.
Print out the book log and place it in a prominent place for all to see (e.g., refrigerator).
Print enough bookmarks for each member of the family. 

Nominate (for teens and adults) your favorite works of Jewish, English-language fiction published in the last decade for the JBooks.com People's Choice Award. Voting for the finalists will begin in August.

If your Hebrew reading skills are a little rusty, summer is a good time to review. The Jewish Heritage Online Magazine has a monthly column about Hebrew words with practice pages for all levels. Additional Hebrew language sites include: AklahJewish Education & Entertainment,  and FoundationStone.

Keep up with news of the Jewish world in Hebrew at Ha'aretz .

Make family reading night an adventure! Each week a different family member chooses a room for everyone to read in. Then everybody gets a flashlight, pillow, blanket, sleeping bag, etc. -- whatever they need to be comfortable. Turn out the lights and have fun snuggling up with your favorite Jewish book, magazine or newspaper! Use picture books or read aloud to younger children. More ideas for family reading are available

Read the online Jewish family magazine Babaganewz that has both kids' and parents' sections where you can send letters, play games, listen to music and find out about interesting events and people in Jewish life. It even has a Hebrew section! 

Jewish Values are reflected in many books that families may choose to read. Select books for Shabbat reading, others for visiting grandparents, and ones that remind us about treating siblings and friends with respect. Find lists of books that embody a variety of Jewish values.

Food is often a part of both Jewish children's and adult stories. Find a traditional recipe for a food mentioned in a favorite story and share it with the family to celebrate completing the book. Chicken soup, felafel, latkes, cholent [a slow cooked casserole often served on Shabbat] and other traditional dishes are all represented in popular books. Many wonderful recipes are available online at Judaism 101 and the Classic Jewish Food Recipe Archive.

Travel the world without going anywhere by reading about the Jewish history in the city where your favorite book takes place. Mark your "travel route" and important Jewish places on a map. Jewish historical sites from around the world can be seen. Look at city and country maps. Locate interesting things you would do if you visited there with the family. See a satellite view of the places at Google Earth or Terraserver.

If you are going on a family vacation this summer read about the nearby Jewish landmarks. Shabbat candle lighting times for most cities can be found online.

Barbara Mollin Lerner, Family Education Consultant

Reprinted courtesy of the Auerbach Central Agency for Jewish Education

Previous Columns

Raising A Mensch Section Editor: Dr. Flaura Koplin Winston parenting @ pjvoice.com, Founder and Scientific Director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She welcomes your comments, questions and suggestions for future columns.