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9 Ways to Celebrate Rosh Hashanah With Your Kids
Fall is here! The air is getting cooler, the leaves are changing color (okay, maybe not here in Columbia, but at least the fall flavors are out in full force at Starbucks).
One thing that has always signified the start of autumn for me has been the Jewish high holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Ten days apart, the holidays signify a new year and new beginnings.
Kids about Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah, the first of the two holidays, begins on the evening of Wednesday, September 24 and ends on the evening of Friday, September 26. In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, “head of the year” or “first of the year.”
Rosh Hashanah is commonly known as the Jewish New Year, although the holiday is typically spent very differently than January 1. There is, however, some similarity between the Jewish New Year and the American one: Many Americans use the New Year as a time to make “resolutions.” Likewise, the Jewish New Year is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the New Year.
I look forward to Rosh Hashanah because it allows me to reflect on the past year and take inventory of how I have grown as a wife and mother. I also welcome the opportunity to make amends to people whom I feel I have wronged, or forgive those who have wronged me, during the past year. Letting go is one of the most important aspects of Rosh Hashana and something as a mom I could certainly practice more often.
Ways to Celebrate Rosh Hashanah With Your Kids
While I was raised Jewish, my husband was not. Although neither of us is devout in our respective beliefs, it is important to me to introduce our daughter to the traditions I grew up with. Growing up I spent Rosh Hashanah in the temple with my family, but with my own daughter, I have embraced a few non-traditional practices for the holiday. Here are a few ways to celebrate Rosh Hashanah with your own kids.
It is customary on Rosh Hashanah to dip apples and challah bread in honey which symbolizes the wish for a sweet new year. If your child is old enough, taste test a few different varieties of honey such as wildflower or blueberry.
Start a Growth Chart
Rosh Hashanah is a wonderful time to start a growth chart for your child. Mark the child’s height and the date and then continue to take measurements throughout the year or annually during the holiday. Use the measurement during the Jewish New Year to talk about how he or she has grown emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually.
Try a New Fruit
On the second night of Rosh Hashanah, it is common to eat a “new fruit” — a fruit that guests have not tasted for a long time. Often, pomegranate is used as the new fruit, but if your child won’t touch a pomegranate with a ten-foot pole, take a trip through your market exotic fruit section and let them pick out their own “new fruit” to try.
Utilize Shalom Sesame
Shalom Sesame is a great resource to teach kids about the holiday. Their website offers videos, activities, games, songs, and printables with fun characters your little ones will recognize (as well as some new friends!). Bonus: there is also a resource guide for parents to help you make the holidays fun for kids while teaching the true meaning behind each event.
Make an Apple Necklace
String Applejack and Honeycomb cereal on a piece of string or yarn.
Emphasize the Newness of the Year
You might try doing something new right before or after the holiday. Play a new board game, visit a new park or restaurant, or encourage your child to find a new hobby.
Make a Shofar
During Rosh Hashanah, a Shofar, traditionally made from a hollowed-out ram’s horn, is blown to awaken and inspire. The Shofar is such an integral part of Rosh Hashanah that sometimes the holiday is called Yom Teruah, which translates to “day of the Shofar blast” in Hebrew. You and your child can easily make your own Shofar at home.
All you need is a large paper plate, tape, glue, construction paper, scissors markers, paint or ribbon, and yarn
- Roll a large paper plate into a cone shape. Fasten it with tape.
- Glue construction paper around the cone shape, and trim the edges. Use markers or paint to decorate the horn or glue on ribbon.
- Slip a piece of yarn through the inside of the horn, and tie the ends to make a handle.