Family hands-on projects trace the weave of tradition

*The fabrics of family life

Do you have an afghan that your grandmother knit or a challah cover that one of the kids made at school? Spend an hour or two taking your kid(s) on a treasure hunt around your home searching for textile "heirlooms." Gather them, photograph each item and then share stories and memories. Write these memories down to create a scrapbook about your family's special fabrics. One day the scrapbook itself will become an heirloom!

*From rags to riches

No doubt we all have clothing in our closets that no longer fit us, physically or aesthetically. Practice the mitzvah of malbish arumim, clothing the naked, by collecting and donating those clothes to a local shelter or other philanthropy. Previously owned baby clothes, maternity clothes, warm coats and blankets are especially welcome at most shelters and Planned Parenthood offices.

*White out

In the kabbalistic (mystical) tradition, people dress in white on Shabbat. Challenge everyone in your family to wear all white, from head to toe, to dinner on Friday night. Discuss how it feels to wear white and why you imagine this color is associated with Shabbat.

*Out of whole cloth

There are many great children's books about fabrics. Read and discuss one of the books together. Here are some ideas:

"The Keeping Quilt" by Patricia Polacco. Why do you think the blanket is called the keeping quilt? Why is the keeping quilt so special to the author's family? If your family were to make its own keeping quilt, which fabrics would you use?

"Joseph Had a Little Overcoat" by Simms Taback. Why do you think the overcoat, and everything that comes from it, is so special to Joseph? What is something that you have that you could imagine using in different ways until it practically disappeared?