Top 10 Israeli apps for kids

Using your mobile device to keep children entertained and learning new skills is easier than ever, thanks to kid-friendly Israeli app developers. By Abigail Klein Leichman

What do you get when you combine Israel’s talents in high-tech with its child-centered society? Terrific mobile applications for children. We chose just 10 to feature, but you can find tons more if you poke around the app marketplace.

1. TinyTap

Selected by Marshable as a top-five “digital distraction” for kids and their parents, TinyTap is a free, intuitive game-creation platform for iPad and iPhone. Parents, teachers and children can design their own educational games or choose one from the TinyTap Social Market. On January 8 of this year, TinyTap was one of three apps to receive the $1 million Verizon Powerful Answers award.

2. My PlayHome

This dollhouse for the iPad generation was cited in The New York Times’ ” Apps to Keep Children Happy” list two years ago. Kids can open the closets, turn on the TV and shower, fry an egg, pour drinks, blow bubbles and other fun stuff. The advantages of a virtual dollhouse: It can go anywhere and there are no pieces to lose or get broken. Plus, the house can be expanded and accessorized. Recommended for ages 1-7.

3. scoolWork

The Israeli startup Skills & Knowledge created this app to help students write essays better and faster. It’s an organizational aid to format an assignment, check grammar and spelling, add a bibliography and even search the Internet more effectively. Teachers have given sCoolWork a thumbs-up.

4. Touchoo

Introducing the Touchoo Creator from touchoo on Vimeo.


Books for little fingers – Touchoo.

Subtitled “Books for Little Fingers,” Touchoo offers interactive children’s book-apps on all kinds of devices. You can buy one ready-made or use Touchoo Creator to create and publish your own, complete with animation, point-and-click interface and sound interaction. Your book is published instantly on the App Store, Google Play, Amazon and Nook (there is a fee, but all proceeds are your own). Each app-book is available in many formats on a Web-based platform for easy collaboration.

5. Ellie’s Wings

With this coloring app for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, children ages 2-7 can do symmetrical drawings on the wings of an animated butterfly, bee, dragon, peacock or unicorn. The creatures laugh, get excited or faint in reaction to the choice and pattern of colors or animated decoration placed on the wing. They’ll even hand your child a towel if the virtual paint spills from the color palette, which doubles as a musical xylophone‏‏‏‏. There is optional animation, such as flowers that open and close, lights that blink, hearts that beat. Save drawings by clicking the camera icon.

6.Ellie’s Fun House

Preschoolers can play this highly interactive game as a “brother” or a “sister.” There are activities and tasks to perform in each of six rooms, as well as in the garden: taking a bath, tidying the bedroom, making pancakes with mom, picking flowers, brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, etc., all accompanied by sounds and graphics. The “day” ends by going to sleep with a satisfying snore.

7.Trucks and Things That Go

One of several iPhone-iPad apps made by Kids 1st Shape Puzzles, this virtual jigsaw puzzle is a natural for tots fascinated by trucks, diggers, tractors, trains, boats, ambulances and planes — 70 vehicles in all. Players who place the pieces correctly get rewarded by hearing the sound made by the vehicle, and they also hear its name pronounced in Hebrew or English.

8. My Body

Why learn just one language when you can learn three all at once? The My Body app for iPhone and iPad teaches children the words for body parts in English, Spanish and Hebrew. The application is divided into three categories: Front, back and head.


HowDo hopes to answer kids questions.

Curious kids have a million questions. This iPhone-iPad app aims to answer them with the aid of 150 detailed photos and sound effects covering 54 topics. How are butterflies formed? How do rainbows appear in the sky? How do they make ice cream? How is a chair manufactured? How does a letter dropped in the mailbox reach its destination? How do you ride a bike? There are free and paid versions of the app available.

10.Santa Rescue Saga: Doctor X Christmas Adventure 

The most downloaded free Christmas iOS app in 2013, this game lets kids heal Santa’s cold, rescue him from a chimney or a block of ice and other sticky situations so that he can get to children’s homes on Christmas Eve. TabTale, the Israeli startup behind this iOS and Android app as well as hundreds of others, was ranked among the top 10 app publishers by ranking site

New York jewish

A Ceremony Beyond Words: Double Bar Mitzvah for Special Boys

By Menachem Posner —

Parker Lynch celebrates his bar mitzvah at Chabad of Poway with Rabbi Mendy Rubenfeld, left and Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, center.
Parker Lynch celebrates his bar mitzvah at Chabad of Poway with Rabbi Mendy Rubenfeld, left and Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, center.

The room was silent during the speech at a recent bar mitzvah in the city of Poway, Calif., in San Diego County. Not even the bar mitzvah boy spoke. In fact, he couldn’t.

Dozens of friends and well-wishers gathered to celebrate the religious milestone for two young men, both of whom are nonverbal. One of them, 24-year-old Andrew Lindhardt, delivered remarks he had prepared via Lightwriter, a handheld device that allows him to communicate with a keypad.

Andrew, a student at Palomar Community College who also volunteers at Head Start, has cerebral palsy, as well as an unknown syndrome that has severely limited many of his abilities. The other celebrant, Parker Lynch, is a teen with cerebral palsy and autism.

Both are part of the Friendship Circle Diego, an organization where both typical and challenged children, teenagers and adults experience the joys of friendship and learn to appreciate their unique gifts. Regular participants in the Friendship Circle events, the boys developed a special bond.

As time went on, their families drew close as well.

Rochelle Lynch, Parker’s mom, said that she nursed a secret wish that her son would one day celebrate his bar mitzvah. “I knew that walking up the bimahplatform and chanting in Hebrew are a big part of it, and there was no way that my son would be able to do that, so I really did not think of it as an option. Then Mushky Coleman, one of the Friendship Circle interns, approached me and suggested that we have a joint bar mitzvah celebration for Parker and Andrew since they have this special friendship. Mushky really made it happen. She spoke to everyone and got them all on board.”

‘Everyone Got Involved’

According to Elisheva Green, executive director of the Friendship Circle of San Diego, “everyone in the Friendship Circle got involved. A group of girls in ourbat mitzvah club volunteered to make sports-themed centerpieces. Some of the moms did the shopping, and the boys and their families started preparing.”

Andrew Lindhardt carried the Torah through the synagogue for the congregants to touch or kiss.
Andrew Lindhardt carried the Torahthrough the synagogue for the congregants to touch or kiss.

Since Andrew is able to communicate through his Lightwriter, he prepared a speech for himself and for Parker. They and their mothers started meeting regularly with Rabbi Mendy Rubenfeld, youth director at Chabadof Poway, to study the theme of the week’s Torah portion and other aspects of Judaism.

During the course of the preparations, Rubenfeld realized that neither of the boys had Jewish names, as neither had a circumcision performed in the traditional Jewish way. Andrew underwent a bris and was given the Hebrew name Avraham Refael. His mother, Tara Lindhardt, planned to take the Jewish name Atara Esther.

The date of the bar mitzvah was Sunday, June 9, on Rosh Chodesh, the first day of the Jewish month, a day when the Torah is taken from the ark and read.

Almost all of the nearly 100 guests gathered at Chabad of Poway were family members and friends the two boys had gotten to know through the Friendship Circle—volunteers, as well as other people with disabilities.

Both boys opened the ark. Parker held the Torah scroll with Andrew’s help, and then Andrew carried it through the synagogue for the congregants to touch or kiss.

After the scroll was brought to the bimah, the honors were given to other members of the Friendship Circle who had the verbal ability to say the required blessings.

Regular participants in the Friendship Circle events, Andrew and Parker developed a special bond.

Then the young men were danced around the sanctuary in a mass of loved ones—some walking and others in wheelchairs. Jeffrey Freedman, whose grandson has special needs, said “I don’t think there was a dry eye in our shul. I have never, and don’t think I ever will, experience such a moment.” He added that he now looks forward to celebrating his grandson’s bar mitzvah with the Friendship Circle when the time comes.

“We were so engrossed in the celebration,” Tara later recalled, “that we totally forgot to give me my Jewish name, so we ended up doing it a few weeks later during Shabbat services.”

‘Different Levels of Understanding’

Sitting between Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, director of Chabad of Poway, and Parker, Andrew delivered his 1,500 word “talk” on behalf of both boys.

Other than the fact that the speech was not delivered orally, many elements were typical—it started with a few jokes and ended with a long list of “thank you’s”—but other elements went beyond the norm.

Working off the fact that the laws of the Torah are often beyond understanding, Andrew said, “Parker and I think this highlights that for everyone, there is much to be open to in relationships that is not logical. There are aspects of life and relationships missed if logic is the sole focus. For our bar mitzvah, we wish to point out that even if we do not cognitively or rationally understand—or if we have special needs or if we don’t—there is much to be open to and to appreciate. There are different ways of understanding and different things to be understood. There are different levels of understanding. Parker and I believe there are beautiful things missed if we are not open to this.”

Continued Andrew: “Parker and I understand a loving spirit; we understand hope, we understand that when I, Andrew, say Parker is ‘my boy,’ and I touch his face and Parker hugs me, we know that we love each other. Parker and I just know what we cannot see and what we may not be able to totally comprehend, but we feel and know anyway. It is real. Parker and I understand each other. This is a relationship. Parker and I know plenty of others with special needs (often conventionally considered unable to communicate ) who exemplify many wonderful insights, and they always show us in such wonderful ways—a wave, a hug, an expression, a kiss, sometimes a behavior that indicates an understanding far, far, above what we would ever expect and more … ”

Andrew’s mother, Tara, said that “during the speech, Andrew would occasionally touch Parker’s shoulder and help him stay calm. I was really proud to see Andrew acting like an adult taking care of Parker.”

Even with the bar mitzvah behind them, both mothers plan to continue their weekly study sessions.

“Feeling the acceptance and comfort of Chabad, the last few months have been life-changing,” said Rochelle. “We have been learning so much with Rabbi Mendy as we prepared for the bar mitzvah, and we really want to keep up our momentum.

“While we are not what you would call religious, we have been learning to incorporate Judaism into our lives, and we want to keep growing. There were so many things that I had not understood about Judaism, and the rabbi’s openness has really been incredible.”

Tara echoed those sentiments: “We came looking for a place where Andrew would have some social interactions and ended up with so much more. For now, learning about—and incorporating—Judaism in our lives is our priority. Andrew led us here, and what has happened is nothing short of a miracle.”


mh- New York Jewish Parenting

The Picky Eater Solution

Kids cooking made easy – by Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek


Excerpted from Kids Cooking Made Easy

Since my oldest child is only seven years old (he can still cook!), for me, writingKids Cooking Made Easy wasn’t only about teaching kids how to cook. It also helped me build my repertoire of dishes that my kids will actually eat: my picky eater solution.

So, this morning, before Mr. Pickiest-Eater-of-Them-All went to school, I asked him what he requested for dinner.

“Pizza Soup!”

He says he loves it better than candy. But only when I also make those cheese crisps on the side so he can dunk and dunk.

In Leah’s house, Honey Barbecue Chicken Nuggets has become the most requested dinner.

And so, tonight, while the soup is simmering on my stove and Leah’s nuggets are coming out of the oven, here’s two of our favorite recipes from Kids Cooking Made Easy to please the picky eaters in your house too.



4-6 servings

We love sauce and cheese, whether it’s on top of our pasta or our pizza. But when do we ever get an excuse to eat it on its own? If there’s picky eaters in your house who don’t like bits of onion, use an immersion blender to blend them into the soup.

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons oil or butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups milk
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup shredded cheese

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Using a wooden spoon, sauté until onion is soft, 5-7 minutes.

2. Add crushed tomatoes and cook for 8-10 minutes. Add sugar, salt, basil, garlic powder, milk, and water and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

3. Add cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Ladle soup into bowls to serve.

To make these cheesy pita chips, split a pita bread in half and cut it into halves or quarters. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, dried basil, and garlic powder. Bake at 425ºF for 7-8 minutes, or until crispy.


Honey Barbecue Chicken Nuggets

4-6 servings

Raise your hand if you like dunking chicken nuggets in ketchup. What if we updated ketchup and made an even better dipping sauce for you? I like to double the sauce because my family likes to dip and dip and dip. -L.

  • 1½ pounds chicken cutlets, cut into nuggets
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 6 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder (optional)
  • 1½-2 cups panko crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a small bowl, combine oil, honey, ketchup, mustard, and chili powder (optional). Use a spoon to stir the mixture until smooth. Pour half the sauce into a separate bowl to use as the dipping sauce; set aside.

3. Place panko crumbs into another bowl.

4. Dip chicken nuggets into the honey mixture and coat completely. Then, press into panko crumbs until chicken is fully coated on all sides.

5. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet. Spray the top of the nuggets with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 25 minutes. For extra-crispy nuggets, turn the chicken halfway through the cooking time, baking for 12-13 minutes per side.

6. Serve with dipping sauce.



Yield: 24 squares

I always knew I loved Rice Krispies Treats, but now I love them way more with ice cream in the middle. I’ll never make plain Rice Krispies Treats again. -V.

  • ¼ cup (½ stick) margarine or butter
  • 1 (16-ounce) container marshmallow fluff
  • 8 cups Rice Krispies®
  • 1 quart ice cream, slightly defrosted
  • ¾ cup sprinkles or chocolate chips

1. Melt margarine in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add fluff and mix until margarine and fluff are completely combined. Stir in Rice Krispies, 1 cup at a time.

2. Divide the Rice Krispies treats between 2 9 x 13-inch baking pans and press into a thin layer.

3. Top one Rice Krispies layer with softened ice cream and sprinkles or chocolate chips. Freeze ice cream layer for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until ice cream is firm.

4. Place second Rice Krispies layer over firm ice cream. Using a sharp knife, cut the treats into squares (this is easier to do when the top layer is not yet frozen). Return to freezer until ready to serve.

This is easier to do if you drop some all over the bottom of the pan rather than in one spot. You can also place a piece of wax paper over the Rice Krispies treats as you press down to help you flatten them evenly.

mh- New York Jewish Parenting