Family Activity: Create a Jewish ‘Shelfie’

Rosh Hashanah 'Shelfie'

One of our favorite family traditions is to make a ‘shelfie’ for each Jewish holiday. A ‘shelfie’ is just a designated bookshelf or play area where you can display things for your kids to learn about the upcoming festival. It’s an adorable way to collect all of our holiday themed books, toys and little treasures and display them in one place to get our kids interested and excited about the traditions and celebrations coming up. So much of the holiday is spiritually and literally above their heads so I try to take a little bit of time to think about what they can see, touch and experience.

A ‘shelfie’ is just a designated bookshelf or play area where you can display things for your kids to learn about an upcoming festival.

The first thing I do to create a holiday ‘shelfie’ is to take out our holiday books from the kids’ rooms. This year for Rosh Hashanah I put out our favorites Rosh Hashanah is Coming by Tracy Newman and Is it Rosh Hashanah Yet? by Chris Barash. (Both were sent to our family from PJ Library of course!) One new addition this year is the book Bible Stories for Jewish Children by Ruth Samuels. My parents gave me my very own copy when I was about my oldest son’s age, so this title has an especially important place on this year’s display.

If your home library doesn’t have many holiday specific books you can also think about the themes of the holiday and create a scene based on those. Many secular stories also make valuable additions to your holiday reading time and anchor discussions about Jewish values. For example, reading Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes or Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton are fantastic conversation starters about forgiveness and apologizing, perfect for any High Holidays themed display.

In addition to books, I also love to include toys and props for my shelfies. Now, I don’t always necessarily have ready-made toys for a holiday, so this is where I have fun being creative. For our Rosh Hashanah display I included a little wooden playset with a round challah, candlesticks, and then I added some pretend apples from my kids’ play kitchen. During Tu B’shivat I’ll bring in some bits of nature from our backyard like sticks and leaves and put them in a little basket. It’s amazing how displaying something they see all the time in a new way suddenly makes it interesting to them again.

PS- the term ‘shelfie’ comes from the social media concept of a ‘selfie’ only instead of a photo of yourself these ones are images of people’s bookshelves. Search #shelfie on Instagram to see lots of inspiration!

Shanah Tovah!

About the Author:

Marion Haberman @MyJewishMommyLife

Marion Haberman is the writer and content creator for the most popular ‘Mommy YouTube’ channel focused on being a Jewish mom. With over 4 million total views on her YouTube/MyJewishMommyLife channel and Instagram, @MyJewishMommyLife, Marion shares her experiences as a mother focused on living a meaning-FULL Jewish family life. Her award winning social media platform is full of lifestyle inspiration, Jewish family home ideas and conscious parenting advice. Marion’s first book, a non-fiction guide to Judaism and pregnancy titled Expecting Jewish! is currently available for preorder.