Throughout the school each class learns about a different world faith and in Reception the children learn about Judaism. The children learnt about Shabbat, and when Jewish people celebrate their Sabbath. We made challah bread which is shared as part of the Shabbat meal, and all the children tried a piece.
With each RE topic the colour of the board changes to reflect the Church's liturgical calendar. For Judaism we changed it to blue and white and the children learnt how these are special colours for Jewish people. We looked at mezuzahs which are on the doorposts of Jewish family homes. Mezuzah literally means "doorpost". and inside the decorated case is a special piece of parchment with a verse from the Torah in. As they pass it, the family touch the case to remind them about their connection to God. The children made their own and decorated them with blue, silver and white and we put them around our classroom door.
Sometimes the children would touch them to say their own prayers and help them remember God. We have a cross just inside our classroom by the door. One of the children looked at it and had a little figure "This is like Jesus - we look at the cross to remember Jesus" he said.
We looked at the special clothes that Jewish people might wear. The children were able to try on kippahs - prayer caps worn by men and boys when they pray or visit the synagogue; and a "tallit" a special prayer shawl. These were left on the prayer table for the children to explore, along with blue and white beads for the children to put in the bowl when they said their own prayers.
The children then learnt about Hannukkah - the Jewish festival of light. Throughout the week we lit the menorah - a special candalabra. Each time we would put the candles in in a special order from left to right, and then light them from right to left using the "Shamash" - the "Helper candle".
Jewish play dreidls throughout Hannukah so our children did too - looking at the Hebrew symbols to find out what they had to do for the game. Everyone enjoyed this - we used chocolate money for gelt (Jewish coins), and at the end of the week we shared them all out and the children took one home to eat!