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Rosh Hashanah for Early Years: Celebrating the Jewish New Year with Children

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is a time of joy, reflection, and renewal. It's a special holiday that families can celebrate together, even with young children. Teaching kids about Rosh Hashanah can be a meaningful and enriching experience, helping them connect with their Jewish heritage and traditions. In this article, we'll explore some age-appropriate ways to celebrate Rosh Hashanah with early learners.

Taking place between the 15th and 17th of September, let's learn of some ways we can celebrate it!

1. Sweet Beginnings with Apples and Honey

Rosh Hashanah is often associated with sweet foods, symbolizing the hope for a sweet year ahead. One of the most beloved traditions is dipping apple slices into honey. This simple yet meaningful act can be a delightful experience for young children. You can involve them in the process by letting them help you slice the apples or even drizzle the honey. Download some key Rosh Hashanah words by clicking on the file below - courtesy of Little Owls Resources:

Download PDF • 403KB

Rosh+Hashanah+Banner+Greeting Sign
Download PDF • 536KB

2. Shofar Sounds

The blowing of the shofar (a ram's horn) is a central ritual of Rosh Hashanah. For young children, the sound of the shofar can be both exciting and intriguing. Find child-friendly explanations and videos of shofar sounds online to introduce this tradition to your little ones. Some communities also have kid-friendly shofar-blowing events.

3. Create Rosh Hashanah Crafts

Engage your children's creativity with Rosh Hashanah-themed crafts. You can make apple and honey artwork, greeting cards, or decorate your own mini shofar (from craft materials) for a fun and educational activity. These crafts help children associate the holiday with creativity and joy.

4. Storytime with Rosh Hashanah Books

There are many wonderful children's books about Rosh Hashanah that are perfect for early learners. Reading stories about the holiday can help kids grasp its significance and traditions. Look for age-appropriate books that explain the customs and values associated with Rosh Hashanah.

Another fantastic resource to use, if you are unable to find appropriate books, is story read-along videos online! For example, watch the video below of the book 'Apples and Honey' by Jonny Zucker and Jan Barger Cohen.

5. Family Time and Reflection

Rosh Hashanah is a time for reflection and self-improvement. Even young children can participate in this by discussing simple goals for the upcoming year. Ask questions like, "What do you want to learn this year?" or "How can we be kinder to others?" These conversations can foster values of growth and self-awareness.

6. Special Meals

Gather as a family for a Rosh Hashanah meal, including traditional dishes like challah bread and sweet tzimmes (a carrot dish). Encourage your children to help set the table or prepare simple parts of the meal. Sharing special foods can be a memorable part of the celebration.

7. Tashlich by the Water

Tashlich is a symbolic tradition where people cast their sins into a body of water, like a river or pond. For young children, this can be a simplified version of the tradition. Take a walk to a local stream or pond and, with a piece of bread, discuss letting go of any negative behaviours or mistakes from the past year.

A young girl celebrating Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah is a time of new beginnings, and celebrating it with young children can be a beautiful experience. By incorporating age-appropriate activities, crafts, and discussions, you can create a sense of joy and connection to the traditions of this special holiday. It's a wonderful opportunity to instil values of reflection, sweetness, and hope in your little ones, fostering a deeper understanding of their Jewish heritage

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