New Toolkit To Help Children Own Their Yiddishkeit

CKids Chest, a new initiative by CKids, will bring interactive holiday learning into the homes and public school classrooms of Jewish children worldwide.

Rabbi Dovid Bush felt he had a problem with his hands. He has spent many years as the Chabad shliach in Petaluma, California. In that time, he connected with hundreds of Jewish families, many of whom he has met many times since. However, only some families can attend Purim parties, Shabbos services, and other Jewish events. Finding a way to engage them was on his mind.

After discussing with fellow shluchim Rabbi Shmuly Hecht of Kelowna, BC, CA, and Rabbi Zalmy Kudan of S Barbara, California, they realized another critical part of this. Now more than ever, Jewish children are being looked at as representatives of Judaism and Israel by their non-Jewish classmates.

For many children from these families, especially ones who are not as involved, it can be challenging to feel like a member, how much more so an ambassador of the Jewish people. If they could be empowered with fundamental knowledge and interactive tools to explain Jewish holidays and characters, they could teach their non-Jewish friends about the beauty of their heritage.

With these two goals in mind, they reached out to CKids International at Merkos 302 to see what could be done. As a result, the CKids Chest was born, a project aimed at changing how families learn and experience the upcoming Jewish Holidays.

The chest, which will launch its first edition for Pesach, will include games, recipes, and activities for the entire family. “The goal is to cater to every level in the family,” says Rabbi Dovid Bush, co-founder of this project and Shliach in Petaluma, California, “Each age group, from the parents to the kids, has their own experience that they would appreciate, and we hope to reach them all.”

In the inaugural Pesach box, learning about the holiday will take an entertaining twist. Several games will be included for the young children of the family. Arts and crafts, haggadas, and recipes supply the older members of the family with their own way of learning about Pesach. The chest hopes to bring the holiday home.

“We look at this as an opportunity more than a problem,” says Rabbi Zalmy Loewenthal, director of CKids International at Merkos 302, “Now we have a chance to engage families that have never been reached. They can go home and have a piece of Yiddishkeit waiting for them”.

In addition to creating Jewish family activities, the CKids Chest serves another purpose. Many new parents attending Chabad programming can find it challenging to share their newfound appreciation of their Jewish heritage with their kids. The Chest drastically changes that. Now, their child may go to Hebrew school while they go to a JLI class, and now they can meet up at home for a game of “Seder Guess It” or work on an Eliyahu Hanavi arts and crafts project together.

“We are super excited about how much opportunity the Chest will bring Jewish families around the world,” shares Rabbi Hecht. “We hope it will make Yiddishkeit so accessible and relatable so that parents and children can grow as a family.”

“Our goal is to address the needs of the Jewish people,” says Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, executive director of Merkos 302, “The Shluchim have their finger on the pulse of Jewish life worldwide. Initiatives like the CKids chest directly result from us working closely with Shluchim to create effective solutions for empowering the next generation of proud Jews.”

To order a box for a family in your community visit

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