Crafting with Zhen Yu is my first attempt at a ZHEN YU AND THE SNAKE inspired craft that can be easily replicated at home or in classrooms. I also have plenty of hours to fill for my daughters during the long (at least to me) break for Lunar New Year.  As a reminder, I also have FREE Zhen and the Snake activity sheets that you can download.

For a craft, Tzedakah boxes seemed like the obvious choice. Tzedakah is the mitzvah (commandment) to help those in need.

Tzedakah comes from the word tzedek or justice though it’s often roughly translated to mean charity. Tzedakah boxes are found in most traditional Jewish homes, synagogues, Jewish schools, and Jewish communal organizations.

Zhen Yu was adapted from a Talmudic tale about a rabbi (Rabbi Akiva) and his daughter- and a snake. As with most traditional tales, there is a moral. The moral is usually translated to ‘charity will save from death’. Being that this is a picture book, my editor had suggested that I remove the word death. Ultimately, I stated that she was simply saved because she gave to the poor.

I had plans to do this craft with a class so I wanted to test out the timing first at home. I was originally searching online for cylinder-shaped boxes to use, but I found these wooden banks at a local art store for HK$6 (US $0.76) and they’re perfect. Ideally you can use something you already have in your home, but I wanted to create something that can be easily replicated in a classroom.

Get creative. Think out of the BOX! Have fun crafting with Zhen Yu and always give to those in need.