While Jewish children have opportunities to learn about the tradition of Passover each year, the classroom can be a challenging place for the youngest members of a synagogue’s congregation.
In an effort to create a more captivating atmosphere around the study of Passover, Columbia Jewish Congregation will host its third annual Passover book fair at the Barnes and Noble in Ellicott City.
“[The book fair is] a great opportunity for parents with little kids to expose them to music, to Jewish culture and to celebrate the holidays when their kids are young,” said Gail Goldstein, who has been a member at the congregation for 15 years.
The congregation will hold the book fair on March 13 to ensure it doesn’t conflict with other events and holidays leading up to Passover. It will host an additional event also connected to Passover in April, called Journey to Freedom.
“[We’ll be] engaging our youngest students at our school in music and singing. Some of our preschool teachers will lead us in song and there’s going to be crafts to make an Elijah’s cup or bookmarks,” said Karen Russell, the congregation’s membership director.
Goldstein said the bookstore has a small stage the event can use which, along with decorations, helps to provide a fun atmosphere for youngsters.
While there is a fundraising element to the event — the book fair raised $150 over the last two years — the main goal is to involve not only young children, but entire families and give them an opportunity to connect with each other.
“I enjoyed taking [my kids] to things like this because it’s an opportunity to expose them to music and crafts,” said Goldstein. “But when they are surrounded by something that is in their heritage, culture and religion, it adds an extra depth to fulfilling my responsibility as a mother.”
Passover, Russell said, is relevant, not only as a religious tradition, but as a lesson in migration and immigration. She hopes the event will remind people, Jewish or not, of current crises in which people are “searching for their freedom.”