Anafim Goes Big

In Anafim (“Branches” for 2nd and 3rd graders), we have been noticing how different artistic modalities allow us to generate new ideas about our Ya’akov v’Esav text. Through tiny building, watercolor, collage and more, we’ve explored what the characters in the text have been feeling, thinking, and doing. Lately, we’ve found making big buildings with cardboard, felt, and fabric to be an exciting way of expressing our ideas.

We’ve used big building to think through some parts of the text that might be a little confusing, like in Genesis 28, when “messengers of God” went up and down a ladder in Ya’akov’s dream.

“I don’t know what Adonai is thinking . . . The messengers are God’s messengers. They send the Torah — new Torahs and new inventions. Like UPS.”


Most recently, children picked a character in the text that they were interested in exploring and looked at a list of ideas about that character that other children had shared. Then they picked another child’s idea that they wanted to try building.  

“We’re showing [Child 1]’s idea that Ya’akov is quiet and calm. I like Ya’akov more because I like calm. Esav sounds mean. Even though Ya’akov did technically start it [by stealing Esav’s birthright and blessing], Esav deserves it.”


“The question we’re wondering about is, What if they [Ya’akov and Esav] both were quiet and stayed inside? Then maybe the parents wouldn’t have favorites and it would have turned out differently. They would have two blessings and they wouldn’t fight over everything.”


What a fun way to share our ideas and try new things!


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