Each Building Jewish Life book is designed to teach Jewish holidays and prayers for second-to fourth-grade students. Each black and white book has 48 pages, and includes an extended guide for parents and teachers.
Building Jewish Life ("Red Label") books are for children in second, third or fourth grades.
BJL Books (Red Label) take the study of Jewish celebrations and practices beyond mere knowledge of the ritual objects and procedures. BJL Books have been written with an emphasis on building an understanding of the concepts and meanings of the holidays. With an emphasis on classroom and home study, these books enable parents to become real partners in the process of educating their children to be Jewish.
Each volume includes a review of the holiday’s story, ritual objects used during the holiday, and concepts. Each book also features a separate read-aloud story, classroom and home activities, detailed information for parents, and lesson plans for the teacher.
In BJL Rosh ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur the idea of a spintual new year is compared to the beginning of a new school year. The combination of excitement and fear over the coming year is defined as ‘awe.”
The shofar is like an alarm clock; it wakes us up and demands that we pay full attention. Isaac Axama teaches us that each of the four calls has a different sound. One sounds like a shout; it cheers a person on to do better. Another sounds like crying; it voices the sadness in the things we have done. The third sounds like a groan; it is the sound made after trying to lift something heavy—it reminds us that there is much work to be done.
Atonement is defined as being “at one” with God. Just as a bathtub can remove the dirt and return you to your original state, Yom Kippur returns you to being “at one” with God.
A bow and arrow explain t’shuvah, repentance. A hatat is when we “miss the mark” and don’t hit the target. T'shuvah is when we recognize our mistakes, say that we are sorry, and change forever. It is fixing the places where we have “missed the mark.”
Worksheets for the classroom, exercises and stories to be done and read with parents, plus included parents’ and teacher’s guides complete the volume. Here is a classroom teaching resource which makes a direct connection with the home.