Building on Shabbat Foundations

This week, I offered the children a new prompt:

“Okay, ענפים (Anafim– “Branches” for 3rd-4th grade children). You’ve explored a lot of different ideas about what שבת (Shabbat) could be about, and now you are growing your own personal opinions about what שבת (Shabbat) should be about. Imagine that you could build a שבת (Shabbat) house, showing your ideas in how it is designed. What would you make your house like?”

“These pieces around the outside are like a barrier protecting the house, like it says [in Deuteronomy 5], “Guard שבת (Shabbat).” It keeps everything inside feeling quiet and calm and slow.” 



“They’re supposed to be sort of symmetrical with different things. That room is party, and freedom, and this one is environmentally friendly.”

“You can walk out of the party into this room. And there’s a fundraiser…. I think שבת (Shabbat) is… freedom, and love, and food”

“And sustainability goes with it.”


“I built a mix of all of [the different interpretations of Shabbat we’ve discussed]. The outside is nature; it has a big garden. It’s all organic materials: wood, stone, plants… it’s all made of that stuff… 

The first floor has a table, chairs, bookshelf, it’s just like ordinary. The next is basically where everyone sleeps. The first two are ordinary floors. And then the last floor is unordinary. It has paintings, a tube of light, tons of different chests in our secret room. 

Not everything has to be normal. You should normally live your life like a normal person, but you should always take some different things. Six days of the week, normal. שבת (Shabbat): something not normal. So the top is unordinary.” 


These are just a few of the many amazing designs ענפים (Anafim) created this week in response to that prompt. Somehow I suspect you’ll be seeing a lot more of these שבת (Shabbat) houses as the theme continues…

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