On the evening of Friday, September 18, the Jewish New Year begins with one of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar – Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah, meaning “head of the year” or “the birth of the world” in Judaism, is believed to be the anniversary of Adam and Eve.
Rosh Hashanah is also the beginning of the High Holidays that last 10 days and end with Yom Kippur or The Day of Atonement. During this time, no work is allowed and people are expected to reflect on their behavior, apologize for past mistakes, forgive and repair relationships with friends and family, sing, pray, and spend more time with their loved ones.
So, how can you commemorate Rosh Hashanah with your students? Keep reading to find out how to explain the concept of Rosh Hashanah to kids and what activities to use to plan a memorable lesson.
How to Explain Different Religions to Kids?
Children are naturally curious and they’ll storm you with questions trying to understand what exactly Rosh Hashanah is, why some people celebrate it home while others don’t, why they’ve been told different things about how the world was created, and so on.
This is why you should take an experiential approach when teaching children about Rosh Hashanah and avoid associating it with the abstract ideas.
Kids learn with their senses, and it’s best if they can get hands-on experience. And, while the meaning behind Rosh Hashanah might be too hard for them to understand, they can surely grasp the idea of being a better person, trying hard, being kind, sharing with friends, and so on.
Instead of explaining the history, focus on the values this holiday promotes. Tell kids “… this is a special day where we try to be better than we were last year, play with our friends and family, and wish for good things in the year that follows.”
Here are five activities through which you can commemorate Rosh Hashanah in a way that’s meaningful for kids.
Activities for Teaching Children About Rosh Hashanah
Read Books for Rosh Hashanah
Because teaching Rosh Hashanah can be a challenge for teachers and homeschoolers, many brilliant authors have written fantastic child-appropriate books. They are very easy to read and represent a wonderful teaching resource for Rosh Hashanah. Here are our recommendations, depending on which grade you’re teaching.
- Today is the Birthday of the World – Linda Heller (kindergarten)
- New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story – April Halprin Wayland (elementary school)
- Tashlich at Turtle Rock – Susan Schnur (middle school)
- What’s the Buzz? – Allison Ofanansky (upper-middle and high school)
Learn with Interactive Worksheets
You can also plan a lesson on Rosh Hashanah through high-quality, educational, and interactive worksheets.
Is there a better way to learn than engage with playful cross puzzles, true-or-false Rosh Hashanah sayings, food symbolics, and more? Download our religion worksheets bundle or the dedicated Rosh Hashanah Facts & Worksheets package, and commemorate this holiday in a fun and meaningful way.
Write a Resolution Letter
Since the High Holidays in Judaism represent a time for self-reflection, it would be a good idea to have kids write their own resolution letters.
Tell them to write what they want to achieve in the next year, and put their goals and desires on paper. After this, take the letters and keep them until next year when you’ll give them back so they can read what they wrote. This is also an amazing opportunity for children to see how their way of thinking about things changes from one year to another.
Dip Apples in Honey
In Judaism, it’s believed that apples have healing powers, while honey is a symbol for an extra sweet new year. This is why there are so many traditional apple-and-honey recipes that are part of Rosh Hashanah celebrations.
You don’t have to make some complicated recipe – simply buy some apples and honey. After you learn about Rosh Hashanah, you can dip a piece of apple in the honey and wish for a sweet year together.
Make Rosh Hashanah Holiday Cards
Who doesn’t love making homemade holiday cards for family and friends? Encourage students to share their feelings and build stronger bonds with friends and family by making Rosh Hashanah holiday cards as a gift.
The children can write how much they love and respect the person they’re making the card for, wish them health, and a sweet new year.
Before You Leave
Hopefully, you’ll find our list useful when planning your Rosh Hashanah lesson. All of the activities we’ve recommended are suitable for children as little as 4 years old and up, but they’re also a wonderful refreshment for middle schoolers, too.
If you want more help for your next classes simply browse our extensive worksheet library. You’ll also find our blog particularly interesting since we regularly share important information for parents, teachers, and homeschool tutors.
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Link will appear as Teaching Children About Rosh Hashanah: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, September 18, 2020