This weekend our family celebrated both Pesach (Passover) and Easter. As we transitioned from finding Easter eggs to finding the afikoman (matzah), I was reflecting back on my own childhood. I didn’t grow up in a religious household, but I was raised Jewish, and and we celebrated major holidays. Now that I am a parent, and still observe Jewish holidays with my relatives, I feel as though I want to give my daughter a little background about what it all means.
As I was reading about the story of Passover, I was also looking for some videos to help visually explain some of the details. While I was searching around, I found Shalom Sesame, a co-production of the American version. Shalom Sesame was created in an effort to introduce Israeli life and Jewish culture to American audiences. The episodes feature Hebrew and English words, which is nice for bilingual families. Monolingual families (like ours) can also benefit from these episodes since English translations of Jewish literature use the Hebrew form of certain words. For example, the afikoman is a piece of matzah that is broken in half and set aside to be eaten as dessert after the Passover seder (dinner).
Children will get to see certain American muppets in some of the episodes of Shalom Sesame, and meet new ones. Moishe Oofnik, for example, is Oscar the Grouch’s cousin. Naturally, Moishe also lives in a garbage can (in Israel).
I am so glad I found something relatable to share with Em as we were preparing for our own celebration. Below are videos we enjoyed the most, but I would encourage any family interested in learning about other cultures to explore Shalom Sesame.
Happy Easter weekend everybody! Today, I am reposting my favorite Easter song of all time, which is featured on The Hipwaders‘ most recent release, Year-Round Sounds.
*”Here Comes Peter Cottontail”
In this holiday single The Hipwaders deliver a swingin’ rendition of Gene Autry’s classic, “Peter Cottontail.” “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” is the perfect companion for your Easter related activities. This bouncy “tail” will make you want to kick off your shoes and do a little (sock) hopping of your own. Always upbeat, the Hipwaders deliver straight rockin’ grooves while introducing us to one of the coolest bunnies in town as he hip hip hoppa hippa hip hip hop’s down the bunny trail. Get your Easter baskets ready, kids!
You can listen to the song via the SoundCloud widget below.
*The original post, which featured “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” and “Gaia She Knows,” can be found here.
“Smile” by Andy Roo and the Rooniverse from Color Your World!
“The Way We Gets Down” – Mista Cookie Jar and the Chocolate Chips
“Dog” – Big Block Singsong from Big Block Singsong Vol.1
“Beats” – Big Block Singsong from Big Block Singsong Vol.1
“Bicycle” – The Singing Lizard from Make Believe
“Up All Night” – Caspar Babypants from Night Night!
“The National Tree of England” – Molly Ledford and Billy Kelly from Trees
“Just for You” – Caspar Babypants from Night Night!
Los Angeles-based musician Ashli Christoval, aka Jazzy Ash, brings us the first release from her forthcoming album, Bon Voyage. “Heebie Jeebies” was originally performed by Louis Armstrong, one of Ash’s idols.
Infused with her swinging New Orleans style, Ash revitalizes the ~90 year old song while honoring it’s original arrangement with the same big, brassy sounds. It’s delightful and I imagine Louis would be proud!
The video was filmed in The French Quarter of New Orleans. The black and white film sets the perfect scene for a rendition of such a classic song. Great stuff, and I am excited to hear more of what’s to come!
Support Jazzy Ash through her PledgeMusic Campaign! 4 days left and 97% funded!
“The more we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” – Rachel Carson
Every day when I pick Em up from school she asks me how my day was and what I did all day. As a mom working at home, my day consists of working on the computer combined with household duties. I explain this to her but as a 6-year-old, she comprehends it as me staying home and making sure I have the right snacks for her.
Until my daughter was born, I worked in an office. I left the corporate world to run my own business and have been doing that before she was born and every since. It’s a strange situation to be in because choosing to stay at home has its own set of responsibilities, as does the addition of working from home. The balance can be tricky but the explanation to my daughter feels trickier sometimes.
In 1984, Cathy Fink released a song called “What Does Your Mama Do?” from their album Grandma Slid Down the Mountain. According to Fink, the song was successful in terms of engaging kids to talk about what they knew about their moms did:
“In the 1980’s this song really had a positive impact on giving kids a wide view of women at work, both in the home or outside of the home. We would include verses where kids told us what their own moms did and got some fun responses:
She bags potato chips
She’s a lady wrestler
She’s an opera singer“
I love hearing what my daughter comes up with as part of how she understands her world and the roles people play in it. When music can invoke thought and serve as a guide to raise awareness and encourage conversations, I am reminded of how powerful it is.
Learn more about Cathy Fink’s work, including her new album, Dancing in the Kitchen: Songs for ALL famililes, which features Marcy Marxer, at their official site. The album celebrates the diversity of families in today’s society and encourages togetherness and love.