Congregation Beth El–Keser Israel

85 Harrison Street, New Haven, CT 06515-1724 | P: 203.389.2108 |

Our banner is based on BEKI’s stained glass, designed in 2008 by Cynthia Beth Rubin. For information on this and other of Cynthia’s work, go to: <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. Artisan Fabrication by JC Glass of Branford, CT


BEKI Families Weekly Newsletter

NO Outdoor Shabbat Services this week

Our plan for the winter is to hold Pop-Up Shabbat Services. Any week that the weather looks good, we will gather for outdoor, socially distanced services open to all ages of children. This week, there will be no service due to rain. We have not yet hit on a week with promising weather, but we always check!

Fun with the Parsha: Frogs Everywhere!

This week, in Parshat Vaera, Moses steps up into leadership over the Jewish people. He is the one negotiatiting with Pharaoh to let the Jewish people leave slavery and the land of Egypt, to be free in their own land.

Over and over, Moses tells Pharaoh to let the Jewish people go. Each time, Pharaoh almost agrees, then changes his mind. And each time, God sends a plague, a kind of small disaster, to put more pressure on Pharaoh. Parshat Vaera tells us about the first seven plagues, including the most fun one, frogs. The final three plagues happen next week in Parshat Bo.

  • Can you name the ten plagues?

    • The seven that happen this week in Parshat Vaera are: the river Nile turning to blood; frogs; lice; wild animals; cattle disease; boils; and hail.

    • The three that happen next week in Parshat Bo are: locusts; darkness; and death of the firstborn.

  • Each time Pharaoh almost compromises and agrees to do the right thing, at the last minute he “hardens his heart” and refuses. Can you think of a time when you “hardened your heart” against doing the right thing? What helped you change your mind?

Here is a song about the plague of frogs that is also a Pesach favorite! (via Shaboom)

For older kids (and those who are really good at IKEA instructions), here’s how to make an origami frog that really hops!


Jewish eBook of the Week

Jewish Children’s eBooks through the Public Library App Hoopla: Hoopla is an app for your phone or tablet, as well as on a computer at You can make an account using your public library card.

You can check out free eBooks and audiobooks on Hoopla, from the selection your library has purchased. The New Haven Public Library offers a number of Jewish kids’ books on Hoopla, and libraries in the suburbs should as well. Here is this week’s recommendation:

  • Let My People Go by Tilda Balsley tells the story of Moses, Pharaoh, and the plagues in a rhyming way.

BEKI Children’s Library Books

Exciting things are coming to the BEKI Children’s Library! By spring, you will be able to see a transformed space with many new books, thanks to a gift in memory of Barbara Rader.

In the meantime, it is possible to check out books from the library, and have them dropped at your house via no-contact delivery! Reply to this email with a favorite book, a suggested theme, or a request to be surprised. I am happy to make sure that books get to you, and that our library continues to be loved and used this winter.

Tu B’Shvat is Coming

Did you know that the trees have their own New Year? Tu B’Shvat, the holiday that celebrates trees, is coming up on the evening of Wednesday, January 27 and the day of Thursday, January 28.

Here are a few ways to celebrate this year:

  • Tu B’Shvat Craft in your Care Package: You will receive a care package from BEKI soon, which will include materials for a Tu B’Shvat craft.

  • Nature Walk with PJ Library This Sunday: Families with kids of all ages are welcome to join a Tu B’Shvat themed nature walk at Camp Laurelwood in Madison, sponsored by PJ Library. Sunday, January 17 at 11 am.

Save the Date for Purim Fun!

Purim this year falls the evening of Thursday, February 25 and the day of Friday, February 26. Get excited to celebrate with BEKI, outdoors, online, or both!

On Thursday, February 25 from 4-5:30 pm, we will host a Costume Parade and Car-Nival in the BEKI parking lot. Drop by at any time to show off your costume, either on foot or through your car window. There will be prizes, surprises, and a chance to pick up Shalach Manot.

Then, at 6:30 pm, join the congregation on Zoom for the Megillah Reading. The event will begin with a chance to “spotlight” your costume on the screen for all participants to see. Drop in even if you can’t stay for “the whole Megillah”!

Congregation Beth-El Keser Israel

85 Harrison Street, New Haven, CT 06515-1724

Annie Norman-Schiff
Youth and Family Programming Director
Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel
85 Harrison Street
New Haven CT 06515

Join me for (online) coffee to talk about kids, teens, and families at BEKI!

Useful Resources

Leading Childrens’ Services


High Holy Days Program for BEKI Kids
Weekly Parsha Videos
Answers to Questions You’re Embarrassed to Ask

The United Synagogue of
Conservative Judaism

PJ Library:
Free Jewish Children’s Books


Upcoming Events