The holidays are right around the corner – just after the first few days of school – and I’m in full planning mode. Who needs to be where when? What do we need to wear? What are we going to eat? How do I keep my children quiet and busy while also teaching them to love the holidays AND understand what we’re celebrating? And there’s the added pressure of knowing my kids may be the only Jews in their class. How do I show them this season is wonderful and important?
So here’s my cheat-sheet. What we’re doing, what we’re baking, what we’re reading. Here’s the list I wish someone would have handed to me. I have a four-year-old and a seven-year-old but I’m hoping that children of all ages, from birth to 105, will find something fun in this list. Enjoy and Shana Tova from the Berch Family!
Services for Kids
Temple Israel’s Family Service will be held on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, Tuesday September 7th at 9am under the tent at the upper parking lot, followed by children’s activities until the adult service ends. Parents can stay with their children or drop them off. Children are also welcome to join their parents in the adult service at any time (all unvaccinated children must be masked when indoors). There is no family or child programing planned for the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah.
Tashlich will be offered on September 7th at 1:15pm at Prescott Park in Portsmouth, at 3:30pm at Henry Law Park in Dover, and also at 3:30pm at the boat lunch beside Swaysey Park in Exeter.
We adore all of the books PJ Library sends us ever year, but some of our favorites (and go-tos for sharing in class or loaning to teachers) are Sammy Spider’s Rosh HaShanah by Sylvia A. Rouss and New Year at the Pier by April Halprin Wayland.
For more book suggestions check out PJ Library’s recommendations.
Don’t miss Six13’s High Holiday Mashup or The Maccabeats singing Bashana Haba’a. PJ Library offers a hub for all things audio, including a Rosh Hashanah Spotify Playlist and kid-friendly Jewish podcasts!
When Kira was born we accidentally started a tradition of dressing the kids in their holiday clothes before the holidays (to make sure everything fits) and posing them with apples, honey and our shofars. The photos make hilarious and wonderful holiday cards
These ideas for a children’s version of Tashlich (when we cast our sins into the water) might have to be added to our list this year. Or possibly Jewish Boston’s idea for Tashlich Nature Pouches. 18Doors offers some cute ideas also – as well as blogs for parenting during the holidays.
Gateways offers High Holiday Blessings with Picture Communication Symbols which are perfect for kids.
Pro Tip – save the High Holiday cards you receive and hang them in your sukkah or around your house during the upcoming fall festivals!
ShirLala’s Blog Sameach introduced me to Shofar “Red Light, Green Light”: The participants line up on one side of the room. The leader calls out the different shofar calls (“Tekiah!”) For each shofar call, the children take a certain number of small steps forward. For Tekiah – 1 step. For Shevarim – 3 steps. For Teruah – 9 baby steps forward. For Tekiah G’dolah – Run for it! First one to the leader wins.
My go-tos for Jewish Recipes are usually The Nosher or the Facebook group Modern Jewish Baker Challenge but lately I’ve been salivating over the amazing recipes over at JewishSeacoast.com. My meals will likely also include Jamie Geller’s Apple Cider Chicken or her Pomegranate Sumac Salmon. Believe it or not, my kids have eaten both.
My favorite “traditional” honey cake is this one – but my family adds a chocolate brandy frosting. If I want to show off though, I make this apple braid. My kids love helping with the braiding and frosting.
Did you know you can turn to the Temple’s website for some great recipes? Check out www.templeisraelnh.org/recipes/. Got a recipe to share? Send it to me to add to our website and/or share it on our Facebook group, Temple Israel Chaverim!
PJ Library offers a “2021 Quick Guide to Celebrating Rosh Hashanah with Kids” divided by age group! And don’t miss PJ Library’s Family Guide to the Holidays.
Did I miss any of your favorite links or resources? Send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or share them on our community Facebook group, Temple Israel Chaverim! I’d love to see all of your challot and other new year’s crafts and goodies!
Dinah Berch is Temple Israel’s volunteer ShulCloud administrator and webmaster. She lives in Dover with her husband Joshua, their two kids, and Dzaya the cat.