My childhood was perhaps best defined by two things: My Jewish day school education and my love of playing with dolls. So it's no surprise that I am immensely fascinated by the blog Juggling Frogs, on which a woman named Carolyn chronicles her life as a "Torah-observing" wife and mother. Carolyn, you see, built her daughters a to scale dollhouse shul. (That would be 'synagogue,' to those of you not raised in Yiddish-speaking homes.) Carolyn's daughters had begged her for their very own Orthodox synagogue for their dollies, and so Carolyn got cracking. But there were many challenges she had to face!
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 gave up some of my real beads and fabrics, and spent more time on it than one of my 'normal' dollhouses. I wanted there to be room for a at least whole minyan (10 men) of men, and a comparable number of seats for the ladies. I wanted the Torah and its accouterments to be somewhat accurate for both educational and play value.
And how clever and crafty and successful Carolyn's venture was! And how many things we learned from her! Want to make strollers for the women to push their babies in outside while the men pray? Use a broken clothes hanger! Want the flowers in the faux-flower boxes to actually smell? Tape a cinnamon stick to the base of a box before putting your faux flora in them! Want to make a toy Torah? Get yourself some Tyvek [Isn't that the name of the guy in 'Fiddler On The Roof'? Joke. -Ed.], a paint pen, a glue gun, and some tooth picks! What to do for the Torah cover? Paint some duct tape, natch! Need a bookshelf for your prayer books? Coffee stirrers! (No, really, why didn't we think of any of this???)
Seriously, we have never been as terrified / inspired by something in all of our lives. We think even Martha Stewart would be impressed. Martha, if you're reading this — you need to book Carolyn from Boston on your show, stat. Just in time for Channukah! Bring the good lady on and make her recreate, like, The Second Temple using only household goods! This lady is like the MacGyver of the long skirt, hair-covering set.
Or better yet, have Carolyn do a cooking segment! Latkes and a pork roast, anyone? Bring your Barbies and say L'Chaim!
Rebuilding The Beit Midrash [Juggling Frogs via Boing Boing]