Shehechiyanu is a powerful bracha, that can play a prominent role on the lives of young children, who are constantly celebrating new and different milestones. ￼
Teach what shehechiyanu means. Give lots of examples. Always start by sharing a shehechiyanu from your own life. Collect the reasons your community has for saying and then ‘zip’ them into the song before singing the Hebrew.
Scroll down for lyrics, Shehechiyanu Song Lead Sheet here
Model Moves: I have found these to be successful to encourage participation in this Shehechiyanu song, but of course feel free to make your own:
Stretch arms upward and wave rhythmically for “Hey, Hey, Hey…”
Tap chest for “We’ve got some thing to say…”
Repeat stretch arms upward and wave rhythmically for “Hey, Hey, Hey…”
Open arms, look to the skies
Surrounding ourselves with young children AND taking the time to collaboratively reflect about what is new and exciting can help us reach a whole new appreciation for this tradition.
This Shehechiyanu song has built SO many amazing moments, and has been key to me being able to build relationships with children and families. Before singing, ask the community what is new, special and exciting. You will have to remember everything that people say so that you can “zip” it into the song.
The custom of recognizing and celebrating new things, milestones and achievements can only bring joy to young children and their communities! It appears in the Talmud, so we know that Jews have been sharing this bracha for at least 2 millennia!
If you are doing this song regularly with a group of people, I HIGHLY suggest that after you share this song, you make notes to include what the children and families share that is new and exciting, then you will be able to reflect on the growth each child has made (think of yourself as an IRL version of ‘On This Day’ app 😉 ) i.e.:
“When we first started singing together, David was learning how to track movement with his eyes- in the past few months, he learned how to grasp an object, how to smiles, and how to roll over! Wow!”
“Our friend Sarah was just beginning to identify object by pointing to pictures and sharing gestures when we first began jamming. We have watched her develop cognitive, social, verbal and motor skills- now she can communicate through pointing, gesturing, signing and speaking! Today, she identified a dog by name in our story book and used a phrase to communicate her needs by saying “up, mama” !”
I’ve found that this has been an incredible opportunity to teach about developmentally appropriate expectations, and to encourage parents to recognize that their children are constantly displaying new skills.
Seek opportunities to point out ‘milestones’ that the caregivers don’t realize are evidence of growth, and add your own observations, too.
PS: Some traditions dictate saying “lizman” rather than “lazman” “to [this] season” but the only place I hear that is Chabad- so make sure you know what your community prefers…
This is a rough recording taken at SLBC- (video cred to the kind and supportive Robin Shuler).
Movements and ‘teach’ are modeled for adults- but it would look very similar in a setting with children.
Participation looks and feels different for people with diverse personalities and preferences at every age and stage. This is what meaningful, developmentally appropriate participation can look like: