With my son’s Jewish daycare closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, I am currently scrambling to make it through each day. It’s a challenge, as I know you know, to keep him fed, clothed, happy, and entertained, all while trying to juggle working from home alongside his father, as wells keeping the house clean and sanitized and maximizing all our groceries.
Through all of it, I want to keep my kid connected to the fun part of Judaism, something his daycare does so well.
Luckily, there are some amazing Jewish musicians out there making great content for you to stream with your kids. It’s a great way to make screen time — which, let’s face it, we are all resorting to more than ever — more meaningful and exciting.
These Jewish musicians are doing the most to make the best of one seriously crazy-making situation parents of young kids and toddlers. Plus, this is a really special opportunity to access live classes from creators around the country that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend!
So if you want to support amazing artists and entertain your kids, here is great Jewish musical content you can enjoy from the comfort (ha?) of your socially isolated home.
For the Young Ones
Who: Tkiya is an organization that provides amazing Jewish music experiences in New York City. They employ a number of talented musicians and have a deep catalog of Jewish songs about Shabbat, the holidays, and Jewish prayer. What I love about Tkiya is that I’m always happy inviting a non-Jewish friend to tag along with my son — their content is infectious and inclusive! Tkiya is providing a has a full schedule during this shutdown, and they are also planning to offer paid Zoom classes in the future.
Where: On their Facebook page.
When: Almost daily, with their schedule changing every week. Find their schedule on their Facebook page.
Price: Free, but you can donate to Tkiya here or here.
Ben Tatar (and the Tatar Tots):
Who: Ben Tatar is a Chicago-based musician who writes and performs fun, original songs for young kids. While schools are closed, Tatar is experimenting with digital programming. He intends to stream regular content once a week, and special Jewish music performance on Friday afternoon.
Where: On Ben Tatar’s Facebook Page
When: Friday 5:30 – 6 PM CDT.
Price: Free, but donations are welcome at on Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who: The amazingly talented Joanie Leeds makes delightful Jewish music — I’m a big fan of her song about the great Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Leeds has a private Facebook group in which she preforms daily concerts for paying participants, but she is also planning a series of free Passover concerts for kids.
Where: Through Leeds’ private Facebook page, or follow her page and this event space for free concerts and other opportunities.
When: Jewish content every day at 4:30 PM EDT and a regular music concert following it at 5 PM EDT.
Price: $50 dollars to join the Facebook group and get access to daily concerts, or $100 for group access and all of Leeds’ discography.
Who: Sarah Aroeste is an amazing Ladino musician and children’s book author. Her songs are beautiful and catchy — many of them are great for dancing with your kids. Aroeste offers lesson plans for you and your kids to use during this time of social distancing — while you’re home you can enjoy her amazing original music and learn some Ladino along the way. Sarah is also doing Facebook Lives on her own page, and she is doing a reading and a performance this Friday, 3/20 at 11:30 AM EDT.
Where: At your home — with these lesson plans and also on her Facebook page.
When: Follow these lesson plans in your own time or check her Facebook page for upcoming performances.
Price: Free, but you can buy Sarah’s music here and her great children’s book here.
Baby in Tune:
Who: While these online classes aren’t Jewish-oriented, they’re great for those of you with little babies at home. Vered’s music is lovely (seriously, I’m obsessed with her children’s songs) and beloved by celebrities like Neve Campbell. The Israeli musician will focus on engaging your little ones with movement and warm melodies, and there are also classes for older kids. Since the classes take place on Zoom, your instructor will also be able to see and guide you, making for a sweet interactive experience.
When: Daily. You can find the schedule here.
Where: On Zoom. Find out more on the Baby in Tune website.
Price: $30 per class.
Who: Israeli artist Dafna makes delightful Hebrew music for kids. There are several classes by age groups: for kids ages 0 to 3, 3 to 6, and an all-ages class. The music therapist’s music is sweet and will transport you to an Israeli kibbutz. And hey, maybe you can even learn some Hebrew words along with your little one!
When: Daily except for Shabbat. Find a full schedule on Shir Fun’s website.
Where: On Zoom. Find out more on Shir Fun’s website.
Price: $10 a class or $25 for a week pass.
The Leffell School: Virtual Song Sessions for Shabbat and Passover for Toddlers & Preschoolers :
Who: Since The Leffell School in Westchester has shifted to virtual instruction, families across the country can now experience the ruach (energy) of incredible music each week before Shabbat and Passover
When: Fridays at 10 AM EDT (Virtual Shabbat Songs) and Tuesdays at 10 AM EDT (Virtual Passover Songs)
Where: Zoom. Register to receive the Zoom link for virtual Passover Songs and/or virtual Shabbat Songs:
For Older Kids and Teens (and for You!)
Who: Not to be confused with the ball game by the same name, Gaga is a modern, exciting, and accessible dance class, invented by Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin. Gaga instructors from around the world are now offering Zoom lessons to the public — and let’s face it, we all need to move our bodies right now. These dance lessons are probably only appropriate for older teens and grown-ups.
When: Every day. The full schedule is available on their GoFundMe page.
Where: On Zoom. Find out more on this GoFundMe page.
Price: $5 a class suggested donation.