Ways to celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur with Young Children

Rosh Hashanah will soon be here.
It’s the beginning of the year.We go to temple and listen to the shofar’s sound.
We eat a special challah –its shape is round.We eat apples dipped in honey sweet.
They taste so good! Oh, what a treat!We send Leshanah Tovah cards to our friends.
Before we know it the holiday ends.

From Fun With Jewish Holiday Rhymes by Sylvia Rouss, UAHC Press, 1992

Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the Jewish year which celebrates the creation of the world. The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are called the High Holidays. During these days we reflect on the past year. We think about the good choices we have made and the ones we regret. We look forward to the coming year and ask God for the wisdom to make better choices. It is customary to dip apples into honey for a sweet year. We also eat round challah and wish others a Shanah Tovah—a good year. Many families attend synagogue services and listen to the sound of the shofar, the ram’s horn which announces the New Year.

Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, is the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. It is a day on which adults fast and pray. We ask God to forgive us and we apologize to those we have wronged during the past year. At the end of Yom Kippur services, the shofar is sounded one last time and we break the fast with a festive meal.

Ways to Celebrate Rosh Hashanah with Your Child

1. Attend synagogue services and let your child hear the shofar.
2. Bake “apple desserts” with your child.
3. Start a holiday photo album. Take a picture of your child celebrating each holiday.
4. Purchase a plastic shofar (available at Jewish gift shops) for your child to blow.
5. Make Rosh Hashanah cards with your child and let your child drop them in the mailbox.

Ways to Celebrate Yom Kippur with Your Child

1. Prior to the holiday, bring food to a local food bank with your child.
2. Allow your child to pick out a toy to give to another child.
3. Let your child pick a bouquet of flowers for a neighbor or grandparent.
4. Attend a children’s service with your child to hear the final shofar blast.
5. If you have started a holiday album, take a Yom Kippur photo of your 
child.