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Youth & Family High Holy Day Resources
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Sharing our videos from Rosh Hashanah 5781
Shana Tovah! Happy New Year!
Rosh Hashanah, That’s what we call the New Year!
A New Year is always full of firsts.
What is your child doing for the first time? Make a list and add to it each year. Looking back, it’s a wonderful way to see their growth.
Wear something new. Take photos and selfies of how amazing everyone looks!
When we do/wear something for the first time, it gives us a chance to say Shehechianu, a prayer that means: Thank you, God, for allowing us to celebrate this special time together.
Baruch atta Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haOlam, Shehechianu v’ki-ya-manu v’hig-i-anu la’zman hazeh.
Rosh Hashanah Activities
Dip apples and challah in honey! For a sweet New Year.
We have a round Challah at the new year, to show that a year is cyclical. Have you made your own challah yet? Here is a recipe for Lazy Challah.
Listen to the Shofar, a ram’s horn which acts like a giant alarm clock. It reminds us to “wake up” to become our best selves!
Send people you love sweet greetings. We say: Shana Tovah oo’metukah. Have a Good and Sweet New Year. Make a card and share it.
Tashlich: Washing Away a Mistake
We symbolically take our “sins” and throw them into water (a pond, river, or ocean). People often use breadcrumbs, but we have learned that it is essential to use something that isn’t harmful to the inhabitants of the water. So, we recommend bird seed, crumbled up dry leaves or any other organic materials. (Please join the whole congregation for Tashlich this year at the Central Park Pond – view the full schedule here)
You can also take a washable marker and write on a piece of cloth or pillowcase the mistake your child has identified and wants to leave behind. Immerse in soap and water, and watch as the ink is washed away. A very tangible lesson about starting again.
Prayer Sheets, Coloring Pages & Songs
Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: Ten Days of Thinking and Turning
Have a conversation with your child about what they are proud of. Help them see where they can do better.
Teach your child that we say we’re sorry, and, if necessary, apologize and try to act differently next time.
Ask them for suggestions: What can we do together as a family to help each other?
What about doing good things for others?
Yom Kippur: A Day of Thinking
Some wear white because it symbolizes purity, freshness and renewal.
Adults fast; children do not!
You may wish to frame this conversation by talking about gratitude i.e. We are so grateful for all that we have! When we appreciate our warm home and good food, we remember that not everyone enjoys those blessings. So, we spend time on Yom Kippur thinking about ways we can be better ourselves, ways we can help others, and make changes in the world.
What can your child do on Yom Kippur?
If they are older, closer to Bar/Bat Mitzvah age, wondering about ways they can “feel” the holiday, perhaps they might think about skipping dessert (to encourage them to have compassion).
The story of Jonah is read on Yom Kippur afternoon. A precis: God asks Jonah to travel to the city of Nineveh to tell the residents that they need to treat each other with more kindness. Jonah refuses and takes a boat in the opposite direction. You can imagine that this angered God. In response, God created a storm. Jonah went overboard and was swallowed by a whale. Jonah was pretty scared to be inside a whale and prayed to God. The whale spit him out on dry land and Jonah knew what he had to do. So, he brought God’s message to Nineveh and the people changed their ways. And God forgave them! Showing us that we, too, can always show others kindness and compassion.
At the end of the holiday, we break our fast by enjoying a celebratory meal with loved ones.
Give Tzedakah. Some people call it charity. It comes from the Hebrew word Tzedek, meaning righteousness. When we donate to a worthy cause, we help make it possible to restore justice in the world. It is a way of caring for others.
Wishing you a sweet start to the New Year! Shana Tovah!
Share your stories with us!
We’re here and we want your feedback! Did you make a challah? Dip apples and honey? Send us an email to and share your dress-up pictures and holiday stories. Let us know if we can share them with the rest of our Young Families community. We’d love to hear from you!