Why is it important to turn off the light switch when we leave a room? Recycle old bottles and magazines? Find new uses for our old toys and clothes rather than throwing them away? There's a Jewish value called bal taschit that tells us that we "don't destroy needlessly." There are lots of easy--and fun--ways that kids can learn about bal taschit--from recycled crafts, to books, to videos.
The books in this list show characters giving new life to old objects, pitching in to clean up, and working together to keep their neighborhood clean.
Recommended for ages 2 to 4
As you go through the alphabet, don’t forget the ABCs of mitzvot. Performing good deeds is something even the littlest among us can do.
Recommended for ages 2 to 3
In this beloved Jewish folktale, Joseph’s old and tattered coat is recycled and takes the form of increasingly smaller articles of clothing.
Recommended for ages 8+
What would happen if we never stopped to care for our planet? Walter has a dream -- or maybe it’s a nightmare! -- that imagines such a world, just in time for Tu B’Shevat.
Recommended for ages 5 to 6
Grandfather made himself a coat when he came to America -- and now it’s wearing out. What do you think he’ll do? (Hint: He doesn’t throw it out!)
Recommended for ages 7 to 8
Pearl loved her street. She loved the people on her street, and she loved the trees on her street — planted there by her mother years before. So when the city wants to cut them down, it’s time for Pearl to take a stand.
Recommended for ages 3 to 5 Years
Joseph’s grandfather, a tailor, made him a blanket when he was a baby. As Joseph grows and changes, his grandfather makes the blanket change, too — into a jacket, a vest, a tie, even a button. What happens when the last of the blanket finally disappears?
Recommended for ages 2 to 3
How can very young children participate in activities that make the world a better place? Little Ted shows us specific ways of participating in tikkun olam (repairing the world).
Enjoy a beautiful PJ Library story about bal taschit, then dive deep with the Sparks from BimBam and take a trip with Reading Rainbow:
Start a Compost Pile
Composting is a great way to practice bal taschit and it's a fun, sensory, and scientific learning experience for kids too. Here are two great links with more information:
Composting: A Jewish Practice via MyJewishLearning
How to Make a Compost Pile in a Small Apartment via Forbes
Make Something New From Something Old
Do you have old tshirts lying around? Matzah boxes from Passover? A bunch of broken crayons? You can create something new from something old and enjoy some quality family crafting time too. In addition to the video above, here are some other ways to make something new from something old or broken:
Turn a Tshirt Into a Grocery Bag via Practically Functional
31 Things to Make With Plastic Bottles via DIYJoy
Plant a Garden
Grow your own veggies and plants. You can use seed packets, your PJ parsley seeds, or leftover food scraps from your own kitchen.
How does your family practice bal taschit? Share your stories with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Don't forget to add #pjlibrary to your post.
May 8, 2017