Another Jewish Year is coming to an end, and we are welcoming the Jewish Year 5782. If you want to learn more about the Jewish New Year called Rosh Hashanah, you can check out last year’s blog post. Now that my son is already three years old, I make an effort to teach him customs and traditions in a playful way. Here are some ideas on how to celebrate the Jewish New Year with young kids.
Bake a round challah
The traditional Jewish egg bread called challah is normally a longer braid loaf but on Rosh Hashanah, you make round challah to symbolize eternal life. Here are some recipes on how you can make round challah bread. You can turn this into a family fun activity by including your kids.
Do a honey tasting
On Rosh Hashanah, we eat sweet foods to symbolize the hope for a sweet and happy new year ahead. To start the Jewish new year in a sweet way it is customary to dip slices of apple into honey. Make this even more fun with your kids by doing a honey tasting at home. Take your family to your local farmer’s market (#supportlocal) and buy different types of honey. In addition to slicing up apples, you can create a whole smorgasbord of snacks that you can dip in the honey. Fruits, crackers, cheese, challah – get creative!
Stamps with apples
You can not only eat apples on Rosh Hashanah but also make fun art with them. All you need is some paper plates, kid-friendly paint, and apples. You can have your kiddos stamp placemats or table cloths for the Rosh Hashanah dinner table. Or you can have them stamp cards to send out to family and friends.
Tashlich in the Tub
The first day of Rosh Hashanah ends with a special service called Tashlich. This service is held by a body of water and Jews take a round piece of bread that they throw into the water piece by piece. All of these little pieces symbolize the sins that they are throwing away to become a better person. If the thought of having your young child close to water is freaking you out or if an afternoon service is too late for your little one(s), you can do a kid-friendly version during bath time. Simply get some bath crayons or markers where your kids can draw things they are sorry about in the tub and then wash them away. Examples are: painting the playground where they did not share a toy with their friends. If your kids are too young, you can do the painting or draw for them. Point out to them how clean the bathtub afterward is and explain that Rosh Hashanah is a chance for a new start.
Shofar, Sho Good
Blowing the shofar (a ram’s horn) is an essential part of Rosh Hashanah. Obviously, you are not going to have your kids blow a ram’s horn inside your home but you can playfully recreate this tradition by making your own shofar out of paper. You can also order some shofar toys online.
If you need help on how to observe the Jewish holidays or what activities to do with your kids, the PJ Library is a great resource. They also send free books to your home that teach children about Judaism including holidays. I hope everyone who celebrates has a wonderful and sweet new year. Shana Tova!