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The Book

*Noah's Ark at Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, CA

Book: Genesis 
Torah Reading: Noach (no-ach), Noah in English
Translation: rest, comfort
Chapter/Verse 6:9-11:32
Read this SKINNY for more on this week’s Torah reading

The Intro

“Lions and tigers and bears (and giraffes and zebras), oh my!” is fitting when you’re talking about the fear of an ominous flood and the building of Noah’s Ark.  In the Torah reading called Noach (no-ach), God commanded Noah (his name in English) to build an ark for his family and 2 of each kind of animal. Noah was insistent...Naturally, the people thought he was crazy!  It’s like when your 2 year old won’t stop crying. (The moms on Team SKINNY confess: sometimes we think they - or we - are going crazy!)

In Hebrew, Noach means: rest or comfort, as if to remind us that sometimes we need to rest and have a little faith in others - and sometimes (often?!) even with our children. 

While we may be angry, frustrated, and confused in those moments, we find it best to take a deep breath, close our eyes, even for a minute, and allow some distance to help us find clarity.  Stepping away and centering ourselves allows the opportunity to be proactive, instead of reactive.  Because it is, of course, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that we’re trying to connect with and find understanding in the uncertainty.   Whispering to your screaming child to tell them that you’re sorry for their frustration or sitting down on the floor next to them helps equal the playing field and may be just the visual your child needs. Whispering requires someone to move closer and quiet themselves to be able to concentrate in order to hear. It’s a positive and distracting tool that parents can use to calm a screaming child. Try it!

The Core Themes


  • Noah and the Flood
  • The Rainbow
  • The Covenant

The Players

The Noah’s Ark story is about a man who was commanded by God to build an ark to save all the living creatures on Earth because God was planning to destroy everything else (not a part of the story we generally share with young children). Looking more deeply below the surface (pun intended), there are many lessons we can teach our children about Noah and his ark. 

Ask your children:
  • Why was Noah chosen? In the Torah portion it says God chose Noah because he was a righteous man for his time.  
  • What does it mean to be a righteous person for your time?
  • What does it mean to be good, ethical, and honest amongst your friends?
  • Do you measure up to your peers? How can you be more inspiring and moral?

The Quote

Share this quote with your kids...

“People must have righteous principles first, and then they will not fail to perform virtuous actions.” - Martin Luther King, Jr. 
Challenge your kids to tell you about someone they admire who is righteous?  Why do they respect this person?  What honorable acts has this person performed?

The Inspiration

The Hebrew word for rainbow is keshet (keh-shet). Rainbows are created when light reflects and refracts (bends) over water droplets in the air.  That’s why we often see rainbows when the sun comes out after it rains or - in the story of Noah - after the flood. There’s a folktale that there’s a pot of gold at the end of rainbows. Team SKINNY thinks this isn’t so far off.  

By keeping the reflection of light on our lives, we can take the necessary steps to reach our full potential. We think of rainbows as a metaphor - because ya’ know we love metaphors. Ask your kids to imagine they’re standing at one end of a rainbow and their “pot of gold” dreams are at the other end. What do they need to do to get to the other side to reach their dreams? What steps do they need to take to walk over the rainbow’s arch-like bridge to get there? 

The Covenant

A covenant is a strongly held promise that requires mutual respect between the players, in this case, God and Noah.  After Noah demonstrates his righteousness and loyalty to God by building the ark to save the animals, God makes an agreement to protect Noah and his family if Noah promises to continue to respect God by replenishing the Earth with good people.

What does it mean to make a promise to someone? What does it mean to be a person of your word? Sometimes the best promises are when both people are making a promise to each other and mutual respect is formed.

The Library

Old MacNoah Had an Ark
by Sally Lloyd-Jones
Ages: 2-3
Noah has built an ark and herded all the animals on board. Now what is he to do with these hungry, smelly, slip-sliding creatures? Ee-i-Ee-i-o!

Naamah and the Ark at Night
by Susan Bartoletti
Ages: 2-3
You know the story of Noah. But have you ever heard of Naamah, his wife? This story gives you a sense of what she had to deal with for forty days and forty nights!

Noah’s Bark
by Stephen Krensky
Ages: 3-4
What’s a boat builder to do?! Noah has an ark to construct, but how can he manage his task with the snakes quacking, the beavers crowing, and the pigs howling? Find out how each animal came to make its unique sound in this retelling of the Noah's ark story.

Fox Walked Alone
by Barbara Reid
Ages: 4-5
Fox joins other animals walking two-by-two toward a mysterious destination. Where in the world are they headed?

The Chameleon That Saved Noah's Ark
by Yael Molchadsky
Ages: 6-7
Noah’s Ark didn’t just hold animals -- it held food for all those animals to eat. But the chameleons were very picky eaters! No one could have guessed how this problem would be solved.

The Theatre


Noah (PG-13) - Appropriate for ages 15+

The Project


Make a Rainbow with 3 Common Household Items.

In Judaism, we say a blessing when we see a rainbow that’s meant to remind us of all the beautiful things God created in the world and it’s our way of saying, “Thanks God!” Say the blessing for rainbows with your kids.

Blessed are You, God, Protector of the world, who remembers the covenant, who is faithful to the covenant, and who stands by promises.

The Weekend


Treat your kids to a day at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles to play, climb, and build - all while exploring a floor-to-ceiling wooden ark, filled to the rafters with whimsical animals.

Purchase tickets in advance here.
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