Sweet ceremony

Children learn about bees, Jewish culture at event ahead of Rosh Hashanah

 

Monday, September 10, 2007

PEORIA - Shay Adler moved from Israel to the United States, but his Jewish traditions during Rosh Hashanah have not changed.

The 9-year-old, his brother Barak Adler and mother Sigalit Adler attended a beekeepers demonstration and arts and crafts event at the Agudas Achim Jewish Synagogue in Peoria on Sunday.


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The Peoria family eats the traditional apple covered in honey before dinner during the Rosh Hashanah holiday, which celebrates the Jewish new year.

Like other children, Shay Adler appreciates the sweet honey.

"I like eating honey with apples," he said. "It's satisfying."

Eating honey is a symbolic gesture to God during the holiday. "You want God to bless us with a sweet year," Rabbi Eli Langsam said. "So we do things that represent sweetness."

The event was put on by Chabad, a Jewish outreach program with 35,000 branches worldwide. Langsam said Chabad has been active in Peoria for about six years.

"We focus a lot on children's programs," he said. "So we can guarantee a future in Jewish traditions."

Keeping with tradition, Langsam also blew a shofar - a ram's horn used as a musical instrument. He said that in Jewish ceremony the horn is used as an alarm clock to remind people of the impending new year.

The three-day holiday starts Wednesday at sundown and ends Friday.

Children at the event received a firsthand exhibition from beekeepers Danny and Janet Hart.

The Kickapoo couple started with two hives 12 years ago and now have 21.

Children learned about how bee colonies work, from worker bees to the queen. Danny Hart used a cotton swab to paint a red or orange dot on the queen, and the kids scrambled to find her among the thousands of live bees on display.

The Harts said they usually collect about 100 pounds of honey from each hive, and then sell it out of their home, at the Illinois Central College garden day and in Downtown Peoria.

After the bee presentation, children used glue, scissors and markers to assemble and color wooden honey jars.

Diamond Altman, 9, of Princeville has seen both sides of a bee's personality.

"I think the bees are cool even though I stepped on one at the pool and it stung me," she said.

Sheina Raskin, 19, is a Chabad volunteer from London. She is in Peoria for a year participating in different Chabad activities.

"They learn about the Jewish holiday in a fun way," she said. "It includes all different kinds of learning - hands on and listening."

 

Ed McMenamin can be reached at 686-3196 or emcmenamin@pjstar.com.
http://www.pjstar.com/stories/091007/TRI_BEAL416I.020.php