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Wednesday, January 25, 2012


  Here is a great way for my father and I to learn a little bit of Parsha each week, even though we live far from each other. ( I like the play on words of Abba in the word Shabbat and Imabba meaning "with Abba" and Ima Abba written together!  Thanks Abba and Ima :-)!
In this week's parsha it says:
Cquote2.svg  וַיְהִי חֹשֶׁךְ אֲפֵלָה בְּכָל אֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים. לֹא רָאוּ אִישׁ אֶת אָחִיו וְלֹא קָמוּ אִישׁ מִתַּחְתָּיו, שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים. Cquote1.svg
שמות, י׳, כ״א-כ״ג
"There was a thick darkness throughout the land of Egypt for three days:  they saw not one another, neither did anyone move from their place, for three days..."  The greatest darkness that there can be is when לא ראו איש את אחיו. When a fellow Jew is in need and-  לא קמו איש מתחתיו, no one does anything to help him out, and turns away, that is the greatest darkness.
This is a lesson that all of Am Yisrael should be learning.  Especially in Bet Shemesh.  Where are our fellow brothers?  Why are people not helping each other?  Where is the Achdut???? Let us hope that people will finally see the light.
 Happy Anniversary to my wonderful parents!  May you have many more wonderful years together ad meah veesrim!


  • Hashem brings another two plagues on the Mitzrim: locusts and darkness.
  • Hashem tells Moshe of his plan for the last plague: Makat Bechorot, death of the first born. He explains to Moshe that this will push Pharoah to let Bnei Yisrael go free.
  • Moshe and Aharon learn about the mitzvah of Rosh Chodesh from Hashem and teach it to Bnei Yisrael.
  • Bnei Yisrael slaughter lambs to use as a Korban Pesach, and use the blood to mark their doorposts so Hashem passes over the Jewish houses as He kills all the first born Egyptian boys.
  • At midnight, Hashem passed over Egypt and killed all the firstborn Egyptian boys. Pharoah panics and rushes to find Moshe to tell him that the Jews are free to go and that they should leave immediately.
  • Bnei Yisrael left Egypt the next morning and left with lots of gold and silver and cattle. They traveled to Ramses and Sukkot, until they reached the Red Sea.
  • Hashem commands Bnei Yisrael to sanctify all the firstborn males, in remembrance of makat bechorot


In this week’s Parsha, Parshat Bo,
There are a lot of things we know.
Pharaoh said “no” as was predicted,
And then three more plagues Hashem inflicted.
First came the locusts, it destroyed the crop,
The Mitzriyim screamed, please make this stop!
And once it stopped, without a doubt,
He did not allow the Jews to go out.
And then came darkness no one could see,
But the Jews all saw just perfectly.
Pharaoh was stubborn he said o.k.,
He will let the Jews out right away.
He then said no, so each first born male will die,
The Mitzriyim all began to cry.
Just let them go, and do it quick,
That last makka seemed to do the trick.
There is a date and a certain holiday,
The Jews made something quickly and were on their way.
Do you know the answer, do you know this clue,
You are a Parsha Wiz then if you do.


At midnight of the appointed night, the last plague falls upon the Mitzriyim, with every non-Jewish firstborn dying, including Pharaoh's own son. Pharaoh quickly sends the Jewish people from Egypt. The Bnei Israel travel forth in a hurry with the great wealth they have just been given by the Egyptians.
Give each child an empty plastic bag.  Without warning them, tell them they have one minute to fill it up with what they think is important.  When they come back to the table, have each one show what they placed in their bag.  Each person can also make up a story with the items in their bag.  See how many different stories you could come up with, with the same items.  Discuss how Bnei Yisrael left in such a hurry.  How does it feel?  What would you take with you if you had to leave in a hurry?  Why? What would you leave behind?

    Blindfold each child and spin them around.  Have them try to walk around the room without banging into anything.  Discuss how it feels like to be in darkness.

· Look at the moon this week.  Describe the different phases of the moon and how it pertains to Rosh Chodesh.


Korban Pesach:
What you will need:
1.     Cookie dough
2.     Cookie cutter in the shape of a sheep
3.     Small rectangular cake
4.     Long thin licorice
5.     4 round wafer cookies
·   Make Sheep shaped cookies.  Add chocolate chip to make an eye.
·   Once they are cool, you could add marshmallows to them (using marshmallow fluff to stick it together) to make it look like sheep skin.
·  Place the rectangular cake on a plate or covered cookie sheet.
·   Place the round wafer cookie on each side to make it look like a bedpost.
·   Lean the sheep cookie against the rectangular cake and tie a licorice piece around its neck.
·   Tie the other end to the bedpost.
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups sugar
5 eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
1 cup orange juice
zest of 1 orange, minced
3 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Chocolate paste:
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons warm vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease two 9 by 5-inch loaf pans
Prepare the chocolate paste by placing the cocoa and oil in a small bowl
and mix well. Add a drop or more of oil if the mixture appears too thick.
For the cake, in a large bowl, blend the oil with the sugar , scraping the bowl often.  Blend in the eggs and stir in the vanilla, water, orange juice, and zest.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to the wet ingredients.

Pour one third of the batter into a smaller bowl. Stir the chocolate paste to make a chocolate batter and add the chocolate chips. Pour alternating portions of white and chocolate batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cakes for 35 to 40minutes. Cool in the pan for 15 to 20 minutes.
Seder Plate:

What you will need:  

1.     10 inch round cake.
2.     Frosting
3.     Fondant or paper muffin holders
4.     Bone candies
5.     Candies that look like eggs
6.     Praline candies
7.     Green candies
8.     Marshmallows
9.     Green candies
    ·        Frost the round cake. 
·        Either take 6 paper cups and place it around the cake or make the holders out of fondant.
·        Your Seder plate is now ready.  Add each of the candies to their place.  Put the egg candies- symbolizing the beitza  on the top right, the bone candies- symbolizing the zroah on the left and so on.  Use your imagination….

Thought of the week:

In Parshat Bo, Hashem commands the Jews in Egypt and all future generations to fulfill the mitzvah of the Korban Pesach. The Ramban discusses the significance of using a lamb for the Korban Pesach. He explains that when Hashem punishes a nation, he also destroys their god. This helps teach the nations of the world that Hashem is the true God. Therefore, since the lamb was the god of Egypt, Hashem commanded the Jews to use the lamb for the mitzvah of Korban Pesach. It is also no coincidence that Hashem vanquished the Egyptians during the zodiac of aries (whose symbol is a ram) since that is the time of the year when their god was at its strongest. Rashi explains that this is why Hashem destroyed Sdom at daybreak when both the sun and the moon were present since both were worshipped by the people of Sdom. Looking back at history can help strengthen our belief in Hashem which is why the Torah writes:    "זכר ימות עולם בינו שנות דור ודור שאל אביך ויגדך זקניך ויאמרו לך".

Have a wonderful Shabbat and a great Chodesh!  Ruchie

Sunday, January 22, 2012

How Do I Know if My Child  Has a Communication Disorder?
                                                                    By Ruchie MACCCSLP

The ability to communicate is one of Hashem’s most precious gifts to man. It takes experience and time for a child to learn to express his ideas and his needs in words so that others can understand him. Language is a process that most children learn on their own. However, for some children the process of mastering language is not self-initiated. This may be due to various factors, such as individual differences, behavior and environment. Whatever the reason, these children need some special help to overcome their delay.      
Children with communication disorders have deficits in their ability to exchange information with another person. A communication disorder can occur in speech, language or hearing. In discussing methods of helping a child in developing adequate language skills, we often use the terms “speech” and “language.” Although they are inter-related, it is important to understand the difference between them. 

 Speech is the articulation of sounds. The way we place and move our tongue, lips, teeth and jaw are important in producing sounds (p, b, k, t, etcֹ) to form words.

Language is the message that is conveyed by a speaker to a listener. Language can be subdivided into two categories:
• Receptive Language relates to the understanding of language.
• Expressive Language relates to the way the child communicates by using words and sentences.

Hearing is the child’s first connection with the talking world. First, he becomes aware that sounds exist, and then, that sounds actually mean something. Finally, he learns that when he makes sounds that resemble those he has heard from others, people will understand him.

A child with a communication disorder can have difficulty in any or all of these areas. If he cannot hear well, he will have a difficult time distinguishing the difference between sounds, understanding what they mean, and learning to say them himself. If he cannot speak and make sounds clearly enough for people to understand him, he will have trouble expressing his ideas. If the child does not master language, spoken sounds may not mean much to him. Specialized instruction and guidance from a speech and language pathologist can be very helpful to such a child.

It is very important for parents to realize that they are not to blame for a child’s delay in communicating. It is not because they are doing something wrong. Communication disorders occur from many different conditions. It is partly because of the way the child perceives and reacts to his environment.

Tips for Parents
• Listen to your child. Encourage and praise him.
• Don’t appear anxious about his speech or try to correct him.
• Don’t make him speak or recite before strangers or visitors 
   unless he wishes to do so.
• Try to keep your own speech clear and unhurried.
• When your child mixes up words in a sentence repeat the
   sentence back correctly. You do not need to tell them that
   what they said was wrong.
• Remember that hesitations are normal between 3-6 years of
• Read, read, read! Reading books together with your child is a
  wonderful opportunity for special time together and will
  enhance your child’s vocabulary. Ask questions as you go
  along. Let them try to guess the next part of the story.
• If you are very concerned, consult a speech and language
  pathologist for help.

General Guidelines for Speech and Language Acquisition
Sound Acquisition
Generally, children should make the following sounds correctly by ages indicated:
3-4 years - m, b, n, t, p, d, k, g, w, h, and vowels.
5-6 years - sh, ch, l, l blends (i.e. black, fly)
7 years - v, j, th, s, z, r, s blends (stick, slow), r blends (i.e. broom, great).
Vocabulary and Language Acquisition
12-18 months  First words
2 years  2 word sentences
3 years  3-4 word sentences 400-900 word vocabulary
5 years  5 to 6 word sentences, 1500-2500 word vocabulary
After age 5 the child rapidly advances.
If your child displays any of the following behaviors, it does not necessarily mean that there is a speech and language delay, however, a professional evaluation is suggested:
• The child is not talking by age 2.
• Speech is difficult to understand after age 3.
• The child uses mostly vowel sounds after age 3.
• The child omits beginning sounds after age 3.
• There are many substitutions of sounds at age 5
• Word endings are often dropped after age 5.
• Words are left out, mixed up or ungrammatical in sentences
   at age 5.
• The child has difficulty with speech sounds at age 7. The
   child’s voice is too loud, too soft or monotone.
• The child displays frequent repetitions of sounds or words.
• The child displays attention difficulties, is fidgety and

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Let Your Voice Be Heard!

                                                         RuchieB MACCCSLP

In Parshat Shemot, Moshe Rabbenu said he was "heavy 
of speech and tongue." 
Rashi says this means that he stuttered.  The Rashbam
 states that he wasn't fluent in Egyptian or their culture, after
forty years of absence .  Ibn Ezra points out that it might have 
been a a congenital disability.  Other Mefarshim say that he 
could not pronounce certain sounds and therefore he felt 
unable to speak.  Hashem replied: " Who gave man a mouth,...
 not I?  Go and I will be with you and show you what to say" (Shemot
4:11-12).  Hashem was Moshe Rabbeinu's Speech therapist. 
Hashem gave Moshe the tools that he needed.  Hashem gives 
each of us the tools that he feels is best for us and we need to use it 
in the right way.
As a speech pathologist, this is an amazing example to use. 
Everyone is unique and special in their own way.  Even Moshe
Rabbeinu, the greatest and most humble man had a speech
impedement, yet he went on to be a great man.  You should 
always strive to reach higher, even if you think that something
is holding you back.
Hashem made us different then any other living creature.  He gave 
us the power of speech.  Use your speech correctly and protect
your voice.  Here are some tips for you...

"בשלשה דברים אדם משתנה מחברו: בקול במראה ובדעת" (סנהדרין 38)    Your voice is you and you are your voice.  No one else has a voice exactly like yours. It is your key to your identity.  Isn’t it funny how sometimes by just saying “hi” on the telephone, the listener on the other end can identify you? Your voice is your trademark.  Your voice is very valuable for social interaction as well as your profession.  Are you paying attention to your voice?
What is voice? 
“Voice” is the sound made by vibration of the vocal cords caused by air passing out through the larynx bringing the cords closer together. It is important to properly care and use your voice in order to insure a healthy voice. It is not until one loses their voice that they realize how crucial speech is.

Tips on taking care of your voice:
1.    Don’t shout. Shouting causes the vocal cords to slam together, causing redness and swelling.  Try clapping your hands together hard.  When you stop, you will notice that your hands are red and painful.  That is what you are doing to your vocal cords when shouting. Try to use whistles, clap your hands or a bell to get the person’s attention instead. Try not to shout in noisy environments.  Don’t compete with a vacuum cleaner, mixer, screaming children, bands at smachot.  Try to move to a quieter place.
2.    Don’t whisper.  Believe it or not, whispering is similar to screaming.  The vocal chords hit each other, causing strain. If you are hoarse, try to speak in a regular voice as much as possible.
3.    Don’t clear your throat.  Try to sip water, swallow or suck a candy instead.
4.    Try not to talk too loudly.  If you are lecturing, try to use a microphone, or talk closer to the listener.
5.    Limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine, which tend to dry the vocal folds.
6.    Avoid eating spicy foods which can cause reflux which is stomach acid that moves up to the esophagus or throat.
7.    Try not to cradle the phone when speaking.  This could cause unnecessary muscle tension to the neck and face.
8.    Know the potential side effects of your medications.  Some medications (including hormonal medications) can cause changes in your voice.
9.    “Try” to exercise rest and eat a healthy diet.
10. Use a humidifier to keep the vocal folds hydrated and well lubricated
11. Drink, drink, drink!!!  Drinking 6-8 cups of water a day is very important.  Water hydrates the tissues around the vocal cords.
If you become worried about your voice seek professional medical help.  An otolaryngologist (ENT) can assess if there are pathological conditions.  A speech language pathologist can do voice training if indicated.
If you want your message to impact your audience, if you want to utilize your speaking voice for many years, then take care of your voice!  It is the only one that you have!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


This Thursday, January 5th, is Asara B'tevet.  The 10th of Tevet marks the beginning of the siege of Yerushalyim, during the reign of Nevuchadnetzar, the King of Bavel.  This was the beginning of the battle that resulted in the destruction of the first Bet Hamikdash that sent the Jews into galut Bavel (Babylonian exile).
The Talmud teaches us that the destruction of the second  Bet Hamikdash was the result of sinat chinam, baseless hatred.  The first Bet Hamikdash was destroyed for 3 reasons: idolatry, immorality and bloodshed. We learn from here that sinat chinam, is equal to idolatry, immorality and bloodshed.
With all the recent world news, have we not learned from our past mistakes??  Do our children have to be exposed to this baseless hatred?  Let us all reflect a bit on this fast day and just accept each other for who we are.   Let us look for the positive in each and every one.  Let us rebuild again, even if it takes us one brick at a time!
Hope you have an easy and meaningful fast!


  • Yaakov lives his last seventeen years in Mitzraim.
  • Before Yaakov dies he makes Yosef swear that he will bury him in Israel.
  • Yaakov blesses Yosef's two sons, Ephraim and Menashe.
  • Yaakov switches his hands and puts his right hand on the younger son, Ephraim, and his left hand on the older, Menashe.
  • Yaakov blesses them with the famous blessing:   Hamalach Hagoel:
          "May the angel who redeemed me from all harm bless the youths, and may they be called by my name and the name of my fathers, Avraham and Yitzchak, and may they multiply abundantly like the fish in the midst of the land."

  • Yaakov blesses Yosef's son's further, with the blessing we give our boys on Friday night:  
          "May G‑d make you like Ephraim and Menashe."
  •  Yaakov gathers his sons and gives each of his sons a bracha, each with their own unique strengths and weaknesses.
  •  Yaakov makes a final request to be buried with his forefathers in Mearat Hamachpela.
  • Yaakov dies at the age of 147.
  •  Yosef requests permission from Pharoh to leave to bury his father.
  • Yosef, his family and the elders of Mitzrayim go to bury Yaakov in Mearat Hamachpela.
  • Upon returning to Mitzrayim, the brothers fear that Yosef is still angry with them and will take revenge.
  • Yosef reassures his brothers that he is not angry with them.
  • Yosef lives until the age of 110.
  • Before he dies, Yosef makes his family swear that they will bring the remains of his body to Eretz Yisrael.
This concludes Sefer Bereishit.  Tune in next week to find out what happens next........  and for some great Parsha Cakes!!!

In this week’s parsha, Yaakov Avinu was dying very soon,
Reuven, Shimon Levi, Yehuda, Yissaschar, Zevulun,
Dan Naftali, Gad, Asher, Yosef and Binyamin,
Were told about their greatness and also of their sin.
Yaakov was poetic, each bracha well thought out,
And each shevet understood and knew what their bracha was about.
One shevet will be judges, and one will trade at sea,  
One shevet will be learners  and one will have monarchy.
One shevet will be brave in battle, another that go hand in hand,
were separated from each other, and one did not get his own land.
One brother compared to a wolf, and one was blessed with olive trees,
One as swift as a deer, one rebuke, and they each took their bracha with ease.
Can you figure out all of the brachot, like the one that’s compared to a snake,
When you answer this you can say: "Chazak chazak venitchazek!"
(answers below...)


In this week’s parsha, Yaakov gathers his sons to give them each brachot before he dies.  Each bracha was well thought out and given one at a time to each Shevet.   
Have each person consider how Hashem has blessed their life. Each person should think of things he considers a blessing from Hashem. Encourage everyone  to think deeply and come up with nice things that happened to them. After a set amount of time, go around the Shabbat table and  each person should say their blessing out loud. Keep going around and around until people run out of blessings. The last person to name a blessing wins.

Here is a great way for my father and I to learn a little bit of Parsha each week, even though we live far from each other. ( I like the play on words of Abba in the word Shabbat and Imabba meaning "with Abba" and Ima Abba written together!  Thanks Abba and Ima :-)!

The Parsha starts out with the pasuk saying "Vayechi Yaakov Beeretz Mitzraim shva esre shana".  Yaakov lived in Egypt for 17 years. 
The word Vayechi equals 34.  Yaakov had a good life for 34 years. The first 17 years, when all of his family were togehter, and the last 17 years of his life when the brothers reunited.  We can learn from here that when family comes together and unite, those are the best years of ones life.  
( I hope my parents are hinting that they will come to Israel soon to join us and make aliya :-)!)


My daughter and friends created this fun Parsha cake!

This week’s Parsha talks about the 12 shevatim and the brachot they received from their father Yaakov.  It also talks about Yaakov switching his hands to give the bracha for Ephraim and Menashe.  I thought that a clock (12) and the “hands” crossing each other is a great way to think about this parsha!  Enjoy!

You will need:
Carrot cake
Cookie dough
Fruit leather
Numbers out of chocolate mold, cookie shapes or piping.
Candies with brachot on them (optional)
Candies for the different brachot: i.e. snake, deer etc... (optional)
We bought chips that were in the shape of hands, since Yaakov crossed his hands...

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a round 10 inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Frost with dessert whip if you would like.  Place the numbers around the clock,  Take the fruit leather and cut them into 2 rectangles for the hands of the clock.  Make hands out of the prepared cookie dough or out of the fruit leather.  Don’t forget to cross the hands over.

Enjoy and have a wonderful Shabbat!

Chazak Chazak Venitchazek!!! 

Answer to Parsha puzzle:  Reuven- rebuke  Shimon and Levi- separated , Levi had no land, Yehuda- monarchy , Yissaschar- learners, Zevulun- trade, Dan- snake, Gad, chase the enemy, Asher- olive trees,
Naftali- deer,Yosef- vine, Binyamin- wolf.