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  Recommended Educational Activities

Α. Customs we no longer remember
The educational programme “Customs we no longer remember” is based on a single thematic unit of the Museum's in order to examine it thoroughly. The programme aims at spurring the children's interest and familiarising them with the Museum's space while learning about Romaniote and Sephardic customs connected with several holidays, that are no longer practiced.

The programme involves exploring the Museum's exhibition area and acting out representations of various forgotten customs from communities around Greece, such as the “Irtaman” (= we came) from Ioannina, during which the grandparents used to decorate a platter with fruit, nuts and sweets for their grandchildren at the start of the Purim. The children decorate their own platter, while singing the “Irtaman” song.

From the same town comes the custom of decorating the Kippur lamp. The children learn about this beautiful custom by decorating an oil lamp with fresh flowers.

In Rhodes, people used to shake out the tablecloth at the sea for the Rosh HaShanah. The children shake out a tablecloth full of confetti.

The last custom the children learn about is the Novias, the marzipan sweets made in Thessalonica for the Purim. The children make their own clay Novias, which they will keep as a souvenir.

Finally, the children split up in three teams, each of which takes a box with material of customs for one of the above communities. They use it to make up a story based on what they learnt earlier.

Β. Holy Books
The idea for the programme belongs to the principal of the Jewish School of Athens and marks the co-operation, for the first time, of three major museums of Athens, the Jewish Museum, the Byzantine-Christian Museum and the Islamic Art Collection of the Benaki Museum.

Using the lesson of Religious Education as its starting point, and taking advantage the rich collections of the three museums, the programme aims at bringing the children into contact with new data that will spur their interest and creativity.

By examining art related to the three religious texts, the children examine the way of life, the professions and the techniques that develop under the influence of each religion. They also discover similarities and differences among the holy texts, appreciate each culture's contribution and explore their potential for peaceful co-existence.

The programme involves successive visits to all three museums, during which the children gather information on the Torah, Gospels and Koran, regarding the materials they are made of, the scripts and the implements associated with the three holy texts.

C. Food
The programme aims at familiarising children with the Jewish tradition through dietary customs. The children learn about the dietary rules of the Jewish religion and the forbidden foods. They find out about certain food-related customs pertaining to various Jewish holidays, the preparation of the household and the associated objects. They examine the role of oil, wine and bread, as well as the importance of food at important stages of one?s life, such as birth, name giving, marriage and death.

During the programme, after each Jewish holiday has been presented, the children may try its traditional Greek-Jewish specialty, such as “astari” and apples with honey for the New Year, dumplings for the Hanukkah, challah and wine for the Shabbath, “novias” for the Purim, which the children will make themselves using marzipan and mazoth, haroseth and uovos haminados for the Pesach.

An informational leaflet, recipes and a list of the dietary rules of Judaism accompany the programme.

D. Young Curator
The aim of the programme is to familiarise the children with museum processes and especially the management of the Jewish Museum's collection. It achieves that by letting the children carry out all the stages of processing an original object, from recording it to finally storing it in the Museum's storage facilities.

The programme begins with a welcoming and introductory game. The children then explore the potential and limitations of a Museum's spaces, discuss the meaning of the word “collection” and play a game with cards, specially designed to introduce the children to the process and the stages involved in the acquisition of a new object in the Museum's collection.

After the cards have been put in the right order, they serve as a guide for the rest of the programme. The children go to the library, where a donor brings a bronze Hannukah lamp. Armed with appropriate cleaning and measuring tools, and record cards, the children carry out the standard acquisition process.

Still under the Museum Educator's guidance, they then search the Museum's display cases for similar objects and the library for documentation in books and photographs. The next step is to assign the Menorah a place in the special section for metal artefacts in the Museum's storage area.

Finally, the group gathers in the synagogue area to ask questions and evaluate the programme. Every child takes home with them a booklet of the adventure of the brass Menorah in the Museum.

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