Archives for December 15, 2020

Being ____ at Christmas Invites People of All Beliefs to Tune In for Special Programming on December 25th

On Christmas Day, the National Museum of American Jewish History will host its annual Being ____ at Christmas event online. This free, newly virtual family day is open to anyone looking for a fun way to spend Christmas Day, when little else is available. 

The public can tune in for free on December 25, 2020 for live music as well as on-demand programming for adults and kids that includes arts and crafts and virtual Museum tours. Activities will be available on the Museum’s website and Facebook page

“December 25 is one of our favorite days at the Museum. And as soon as we knew we wouldn’t be able to gather in person, we began imagining what it might look like virtually,” said Emily August, the Museum’s Director of Communications and Public Engagement who has been running the event every year since December 2010. “While we won’t experience the joy of hundreds of kids running around the building with painted faces in-person this year, we’re looking forward to being together with everyone online.”

This year, the online-only version of the event will kick off with a live, interactive concert at 10 a.m. ET featuring Alex Mitnick of the popular and Emmy Award-winning children’s music group, Alex & the Kaleidoscope, who has participated in the in-person event at the Museum for the past five years. On-demand, pre-recorded family-friendly programming that participants can access at their convenience will also be available. Joining the on-demand lineup for this year’s festivities for the first time are:

  • Philadelphia’s Portside Arts Center, whose educators are creating customized art lessons that families can do at home together with everyday household items; 
  • Massachusetts-based Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) artist Sarah Aroeste, with music and insights into Sephardic culture—Jewish traditions from around the Mediterranean;
  • Baltimore-based Beatbox Dads who use emceeing and beatboxing (two of the elements of hip hop) to make music which will educate and entertain the entire family;
  • And when families need a break, they can slow down with a mindfulness activity for families of all abilities and ages facilitated by education specialist, family coach, and founder of Purposeful Parenting, Asia IrgangLaden.

As with each December 25, the Museum also offers more than 365 years of American Jewish life to explore. This year, participants can get their history fix through online tours of its Core and Special Exhibitions, diving into our newest virtual installations, and enjoying past programs, all available through the Virtual NMAJH portal

Being ___ at Christmas typically brings 1,000 visitors, mostly families with young children, to the Museum. For decades, it was called Being Jewish at Christmas but became Being ___ at Christmas [verbally: Being Blank at Christmas] eight years ago.  

Being ___ at Christmas represents the inclusivity of our mission,” August said. “So many individuals and families of all backgrounds and faiths may be looking for something to do on December 25. Everyone is welcome at NMAJH—and now our virtual programming lets us safely reach people all around the country and world.”

The event is free this year, with donations encouraged. Additionally, wintry themed treat packages created in collaboration with the Museum’s new exclusive caterer, Neuman’s Kitchen, will be available to purchase for delivery ahead of the event. 

Details and the full lineup of activities will be available online at https://nmajh.org/events/December25

Being ___ at Christmas is generously supported by the Robert Saligman Jewish Heritage Fund. 

Visit https://www.nmajh.org/ to learn more.

Credit: NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN JEWISH HISTORY.

Books of the week!

5 MORE SLEEPS TILL CHRISTMAS by Jimmy Fallon, illus. by Rich Deas: A sweet and rambunctious Christmas picture book from Jimmy Fallon, host of NBC’s The Tonight Show and #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Your Baby’s First Word Will Be DADA and Everything Is Mama. I recommend this holiday book for all ages!

SANTA BABY by Jonathan Stutzman, illus. by Heather Fox: Santa is feeling old, and being in the business of Christmas for centuries isn’t all milk and cookies. In hopes of regaining some of his pep, Santa asks the spirit of Christmas to him younger. This is a really cute story for young children!

SNOW FRIENDS by Margery Cuyler, illus. by Will Hillenbrand: A charming winter picture book about a dog, his boy, and a new friend, set against the perfect snowy day.

Find these and many more here.

Self Disclosure: I received samples of the books listed above. Images were also provided.