Kiddie Shul

A frum woman in Boston has made a dollhouse shul for her daughters and their friends. The project is pretty impressive, and her guidelines are kind of interesting in the context of Torah/play (eg. “I used fancier materials than we normally use for one of our standard doll houses, in order to show honor for the synagogue in the abstract, and for the Torah and its accessories.”) I admit to having a pretty adverse reaction to the notion of a mechitza dollhouse–and one with a whole seperate women’s gallery at that. But that’s not surprising, given that I’m not a fan of seperate seating for grownup synagogues, either.
In any case, the full post and how-to instructions are here. Some notable shots:
Cute toy ammud, complete with shatz wearing a teeny tiny kippah.
What’s the status of kol isha among plastic dolls?
Fortunately, there’s an eruv.
The social hall is filled with Artscroll seforim.
(Via Jen.)

8 thoughts on “Kiddie Shul

  1. “What’s the status of kol isha among plastic dolls?”
    Hopefully the same as for real people: it’s never a problem when it comes to prayer. Anyone who tells you that women can’t daven out loud is a misogynist (and possibly an ignoramus as well), but not a halakhist. No exceptions.

  2. chillul who?– yep, lots of misogynist ignoramuses in the world. problem is, they swear (and truly believe) that they are halachists.

  3. Crammed – the Torah’s text is the first sentence of each of the five books, plus the last 3 of the Torah. (And there’s a tutorial on how to make your own. Unrolled, that mini-Torah is 5 metres long!)

  4. A Juggling Frogs reader gave me a heads-up about the discussion happening here about our toy shul. I’m so glad you like (at least some of) it.
    When my daughters asked me to make a toy shul for them, I asked what they wanted it to look like.
    (This vital question is a highly recommended step in any kid-initiated design, especially in Purim costumes. An adult can easily spiral off into space, imagining something very different than what the child wants. The result of not asking is usually more involved, more expensive, and mutually disappointing.)
    They told me they wanted a “main shul, a ladies section, and a social hall for kiddush and groups, ‘real siddurim’ and LOTS of strollers.”
    They like to play with toys that reflect their life. We daven in an Orthodox shul that uses Artscroll siddurim. They have also asked me to make a school, a playground, and a library. I think we’re going to encounter storage issues!
    We have many dolls. The racial make-up of the dolls varies. We have a few black families of this brand of dolls, and one family with Asian features. The manufacturer decides the percentage of dolls made with each set of racial characteristics. There is a very large demand for African American and Asian dolls of this size/brand, and not much supply.
    My daughters know how to tell which dolls are Jewish: If it’s a boy, and they can stick a kippah (office supply file dot sticker) on his head, then he’s Jewish.
    They have declared that the dolls permanently dressed in “career clothes”, such as the fireman and the policewoman, are “not Jewish” because, in their play world, it’s perpetually Shabbat, so they wouldn’t be dressed for work if they were Jewish. (This was their logic, overheard, not prompted or requested by me.)
    By the way, the racial make-up of their play world is not “progressive” as the second commenter called it, but again, reflective of our real world. Just as there are black and Asian people in our shul and our day school whose friendship and Judaism my kids never thought to question, it has never occurred to them that any of the dolls wearing non-career clothes would be non-Jewish or singled out for some other reason.
    When they match up the dolls to make families, the colors of their (permanently attached, molded plastic) clothing are more likely to determine who is married to whom than their skin color. (Yes, all the adults are married to dolls of the other gender. These couples are apparently all very fertile, too, as all the families need mutliple strollers.)
    We only have white grandparent dolls. (Grandparent dolls of any race are difficult to find.) Those grandparent dolls love and dote upon all of their grandchildren, unconcerned about their grandchildren’s hues.
    By the way, I love Tefillin Barbie. (I saw her originally while browsing Flickr a few months ago, and forwarded the link to my Egalitarian sister-in-law, who also thought her fantastic.)
    Happy Hanukah!
    All the best,

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