מאת: נעמי שמר | איור: יוסי אבולעפיה
תרגום לאנגלית של ההצעות להורים המודפסות בדפים האחרונים של הספר
Lyrics: Naomi Shemer
Illustrations: Yossi Abulafiya
This year's Sifriyat Pijama kindergarten book selection opens with the well-known Israeli poem and song "Good People," published for the first time as an illustrated children's book. The poem reminds us to open our eyes and see how the world is full of well-meaning people. These "good people" are everywhere, just waiting for a chance to help out and join us on our journey through life.
A positive outlook on life and on others can do much to improve one's mood and to encourage each of us to become "good people" ourselves!
The parent suggestions expand upon the themes of helping others, hope and optimism, and introduce young children to Naomi Shemer, the "first lady of Israeli song and poetry."
Who was Naomi Shemer?
Naomi Shemer was born in 1930 on the kibbutz "Kvutzat Kinneret". Her songs have accompanied the history of the modern Jewish State. Many of them depict the country – its landscape and everyday life - while others have served as a soundtrack for significant and emotion-laden national events. Naomi Shemer's early songs were written while she was the kibbutz's kindergarten teacher. She may well be the country's most famous kindergarten teacher, and many of her songs are sung to this day by preschool children throughout the country.
Naomi Shemer was an extremely fruitful songwriter, and dozens of her songs are known and loved by adults and children alike. Among her more famous songs are "Jerusalem of Gold", "The Alef-Bet Song", and "Lu Yehi". In 1983 she received the Israel Prize for her contribution to Israeli music.
Naomi Shemer died in 2004 and is buried in the cemetery on Kvutzat Kinneret.
Open your eyes and look around… Good people can be found everywhere, but we don't always notice them. You can discuss with your children who the "good people" are in your lives and what makes them good. You might want to prepare a booklet and ask your children to draw the good people who surround you: family, friends, neighbors, teachers etc.
Invite your children to take a close look at Yossi Abulafiya's illustrations of the song. How many "good people" can you find on each page? What are they doing?
Are you acquainted with other songs by Naomi Shemer? Do your children know them as well? This is an opportunity for you to teach your children a new song. Together you can prepare a song book of songs you love, and organize a sing-along with family and friends.
You can create your own special rose-colored binoculars, through which the world looks positive and rosy. Take two empty toilet paper rolls,you’re your child to decorate them and attach them to one another with glue. At one end of the rolls attach pink-colored cellophane wrap, and take a good look around you!
Does your child know the way to kindergarten? Together you can draw a map of the road from your home to the classroom, adding images of "good people" along the way.
You and your children can take a walk in the neighborhood and be "good people" for others! Before setting out, try to think of things good people would do (for example, watering a dried-up plant, feeding crumbs to hungry birds, greeting people with a smile and a warm "shalom!"…)
Who are the "good people" you met today? You may want to initiate a family bedtime tradition of reflecting and remembering all the good people and things you encountered during the day. Be sure to mention ways in which you were "good people" for others as well!
A Good Eye
2000 years ago Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai asked his pupils to suggest what aids a person in walking the proper, righteous path through life. His pupils looked around and saw good and righteous people of different sorts:
[Rabbi Yochanan] said to them: Go and see which is the best trait for a person to acquire. Said Rabbi Eliezer: A good eye. Said Rabbi Joshua: A good friend. Said Rabbi Yossei: A good neighbor. Said Rabbi Shimon: To see what is born [out of ones actions]. Said Rabbi Elazar: A good heart.
Rabbi Eliezer said that the good path is in the eye of the beholder. One who has a good eye sees the good and righteous in others, and acts so himself. Rabbi Joshua and Rabbi Yossei stressed the importance of those who share our path – friends and neighbors. Rabbi Shimon recommended examining one's actions in light of their future consequences, and Rabbi Elazar said that it all begins with what is in one's heart.
Naomi Shemer suggests that we open our eyes and see those who share the righteous path, in order to learn from them so that we too can be "good people" on the positive, righteous and pleasant path of life.