Summer at Home Family Fun Guide

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Summer at Home Family Fun Guide

Federation and PJ Library are highlighting ideas to get you through a summer like no other. It is a true paradox that there is both “nothing to do” and too much out there to sort through. We are here to help! Here are some summer family activities, along with the Jewish values that inspire each one.

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Learn about the Jewish values that inspired these ideas.

Come Together as a Community

  • Celebrate Tu B’Av, the Jewish holiday of love, on August 4th by sending cards to friends and loved ones. Caring for Others
  • These games can be played via video (if each side has their own copy) or more than six feet apart: Battleship, Charades, Pictionary, Taboo. Being a Friend

Do Good

Appreciate Nature

Spend Time Together

  • Go on an outdoor scavenger hunt for five things you have not seen since last summer. Caring for the Earth
  • Read a PJ Library book outside. Education
  • Hit the “pause” button on screens for a designated amount of time together. Play a game, take a walk, or learn a new skill together. Honoring Family Time

Create a Sense of Wonder

  • Pick a bouquet of flowers for your Shabbat Beautifying a Mitzvah
  • Keep a journal of the summer using photos, drawings, and/or words to capture moments, including reactions and thoughts. Gratitude
  • Watch the sunrise and the sunset. Caring for the Earth, Gratitude
  • Say the Shehecheyanu, a prayer of gratitude, when doing something for the first time. Gratitude


The “Back Story” on the Summer-at-Home Family Fun Guide

Judaism values many things, but one of the most important is time. While this can mean marking the holidays yearly and Shabbat weekly, it can also mean making family time sacred—without the interruptions of work, school, electronics, and other distractions. Summer can be a great time to relax and “reJEWvenate” as a family.

Here are explanations for some of the other Jewish values encouraged in the summer-at-home activities

Beriyut (“protecting your health”): “We have an obligation to protect the general health of oneself and one’s society.” — Maimonides, rabbi, philosopher, and physician

Hiddur Mitzvah (“the beautification of a mitzvah”): Restores to the human-divine relationship a sense of the aesthetic and joy in the beauty of an item, particularly a ritual object.

Hineni (“being present”): We live up to our potential when we answer the call to serve with a willingness to be “present” and when we are concerned with people’s need for personal growth, human comfort, and human interaction.

Shehecheyanu (“prayer of gratitude”): This blessing gives thanks to God for enabling us to experience a new or special occasion. “Bah-rukh ah-tah Ah-do-nai El-o-hay-nu meh-lekh ha’o-lam sheh-hekh-ye-anu, v’key-ye-mah-nu, v’hig-ee-yah-nu lahz-man hah-zeh,” which means “Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe, who has given us life, sustained us, and allowed us to reach this day.”

Shomrei Adama (“caring for the environment”): In Judaism, environmentalism focuses on human beings as having responsibilities to the earth and to animals, including bal tashchit (“not wasting resources in nature”).

Ta’am Hachayim (“appreciating life’s many flavors”): Ta’am Hachayim is an Israeli phrase meaning “taste of life,” signifying the pleasure to be had in enjoying different foods. Kashrut (“kosher”) as an eating ethic can also promote mindful and healthy eating.

Tikkun Olam (“repairing the world”): This value is a way of describing the work that each person must do to make the world more just, fair, and kind.

Tisha B’Av (“the 15th of the month of Av”): This is an annual, solemn day that commemorates many Jewish tragedies, including the destruction of the first and second Temples. Rabbinic commentary points to the social ill of “baseless hatred” that caused social strife and led to the destruction of Jerusalem. In the spirit of tikkun (“repair”), many today use this day to highlight the challenge of, and solutions to, bullying and destructive relationships.

Tu B’Av (“the ninth of the month of Av”): This Jewish-Hebrew day of love is particularly popular in modern-day Israel, though its roots go back to ancient times.

Tzedakah (“charity”): Though it is commonly translated as “charity,” its root is tzedek, or “justice.” The aim of tzedakah is to bring justice or balance.




Download a PDF of the guide