The Geniza Storage Container is similar to the
Pach Shmitta containers we made a while back because
they both hold objects of kedusha. The Pach
Shmitta containers were projects that pointed out a
practical means for raising the awareness of kedusha
in the home. The arts/crafts projects reminded us of
simcha shel mitzva since, as one reader wrote in,
they give a boost to the mitzva and upgrade the
child's awareness in the bargain.
Now that Pesach is after us, maintenance and storage
containers are still on our minds. Part of the cleaning
consisted of going through papers, newspapers and
seforim to send to geniza. This is a project
for all year, and the better we keep it up, the less we will
have to do before next Pesach.
Geniza is the "pre-hiding place" for the storehouse
of texts containing sheimos, holy texts. It follows
that the place in our homes that hold articles awaiting
their final destination (actually, burial) should be an
honorable one instead of a plain plastic bag in the storage
room. So -- let's make a container for these geniza
items. Our Geniza storage container will be something
practical, visual and will express our proper feelings
towards holy texts.
* To save space in the containers and in the Geniza,
separate the pages from the YATED that contain shemos --
divrei Torah and pass along or discard the remainder of
the newspaper as you would with other publications.
[Ed. Before discarding YATED or other readworthy material,
check local listings of organizations that are interested in
these publications, such as old age homes, Kiruv
organizations, hospitals and school libraries etc.
If you do discard, set aside a periodical time, like every
(other) Motzaei Shabbos, and do all your newspapers
or give this job to the children. Cutters will do the job
excellently. Be careful.]
* Be sure to insert two strong non-transparent bags in the
container to cover the items properly and for easy
* All of the following projects can be converted to storage
and home decorations.
THE DESIGNS ON THE CONTAINERS
The design on the container is up to you. Use the words
Geniza or Sifrei Kodesh or motifs of the
various sifrei kodesh or sidurim. For a more
involved pictorial project, use yarn, fabric paint or paint
to depict a picture of a geniza or of children
carrying the items to a geniza storage box. This will
involve research if you've never seen one.
BURLAP OR CANVAS BAG
* To make a bag, take apart an old pillow case and use for a
pattern. Increase size of seam to compensate for the extra
heavy weight of the books and papers. Include a casing for a
drawstring. Attach a safety pin to one end of the cord or
rope and insert into the casing. Pin the other end to the
bag and work the safety pin through the casing until both
ends are large enough to tie together. Tie knots on rope
ends to prevent rope from coming out.
* Plan out on paper an embroidery or yarn stitch design for
the bag. Use embroidery or other large needle to stitch the
words Geniza or Sheimos with threads or yarns.
Or do a motif of various sifrei kodesh or Hebrew
letters at random, preferably the kind with Torah script.
HANGING HAMPER STYLE BAG
A hanging laundry hamper bag is similar to a garment bag on
a hanger. This is suitable for lightweight geniza
articles such as papers and notebooks. Use an existing
hanging laundry bag or sew one from heavy duty material such
as canvas or a plastic weave material used for out of doors
on succas or fence covers. Decorate with fabric
paint. [Or use an old, but in good condition, white man's
shirt, sew the bottom across and put on hanger. Decorate
with fabric paint -- Hebrew letters or motifs.]
STRAW WICKER BASKET
Use a wicker basket for a hidden storage area. Cover top
with a piece of wood and tablecloth or simply use a basket
with a lid cover. These baskets are chic, inexpensive and
add charm. Choose a size according to style and height of
furniture in the room. Place a thick piece or several pieces
of styrofoam or other material to lift the geniza
material off the bottom of the basket. Insert two non-
transparent bags to cover the sifrei kodesh items.
FLORAL ARRANGEMENT ON TOP OF WICKER BASKET
You've decided on a wicker basket geniza storage.
For a very original and lovely decorative touch, cut out a
piece of flower foam (available from a florist) or styrofoam
to fit snuggly inside top of basket. Use a craft knife.
Cover the sides along the circle with green or white cloth
tape. This will prevent foam from chipping off when piece is
removed and replaced for access to inside of basket.
Purchase several artificial flowers with short stems or cut
off excess stems with wire cutter and arrange on foam for a
low flower arrangement. For permanency, use a hot glue gun
to hold flowers in place. This is the technique gift stores
use to attach artificial flowers to frames for flower
studded Bircas Habayis plaques.
HOT GLUE GUNS are easy to use and can be used for other
crafts or home decorating projects. Keep away from small
children and do not touch heated glue until dry, and cool
for about five to ten minutes.
Flowers can be simply lined up in neat rows, all the same
variety or in an alternating pattern of two or three
varieties similar to arranging a selection of cakes on a
tray. Place carefully into top of basket. The flower
arrangement is both a cover and a pleasing decoration.
Use a soda case carton or other sturdy box. Cover the
corrugated box with gift or shelf paper (preferably a solid
color or a pattern that compliments the drawings the
children do). Royal or cheerful colors such as gold, silver
or yellow stand out and attract the interest of children.
Make with your child several drawings of sifrei
kodesh. Spray with clear acrylic spray if desired. Cut
out and glue on the box.
CARDBOARD FILE BOX
Cover a cardboard file box and the lid with sticky contact
paper with a design. Or if contact paper is a solid white,
have child draw directly on contact paper with permanent
markers all the articles that can go into the geniza
they can think of. A discussion of the geniza and its
purpose beforehand will open up possibilities of what to
WOODEN BOX WITH LID
Use an existing wooden box or make this a carpentry project.
Ask a local carpenter for measurements and wood
specifications or follow directions from a "How To" book on
basic carpentry. Wood can be precut at the lumberyard or at
home. When completed, paint with color or a stain. Wood can
be carved with wood carving tools for a more involved
project. Save this project for when the boys are home and
are looking for "something to do." Boys will be excited to
construct something useful for the geniza.
PLASTIC STORAGE BOXES
Use plastic storage or delivery boxes. This is similar to
projects children do weaving yarn through berry baskets.
Here they can weave in and out of larger holes. Choose a
medium or large cubic storage box. Our project is on a
larger scale and requires wide ribbon. Measure the space in
the slots and choose a variety of sizes of colorful and
shiny ribbons. Weave your way in and out of the holes for a
fancy option to a plain storage container. Finish off each
row with glue, a stitch or a billowing bow. You may want to
decorate other storage basket/boxes as well. Set on
Devora Piha is available for next year's school programs.
All types of art/ craft/ design courses for English speakers
from nursery age to seminary girls. Also summer groups. 02-