Make the High Holidays Meaningful and Sweet as a Family

The High Holidays start with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and end on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This year, Rosh Hashanah starts at sundown on Friday, September 18, and Yom Kippur is from sunset on Sunday, September 27, to September 28. The 10 “days of awe” between the start of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the most spiritual time of year in the Jewish calendar.

The Jewish High Holidays are meaningful time markers where we feel connected to our family and community no matter what events unfold beyond our front doors. It is a time of renewal and presents an opportunity for us to become our ‘best selves.’

There are so many ways to learn about the High Holidays as a family. Children of all ages love to taste warm challah, dip apples in honey for a sweet near year, and hear the shofar.

Here are our top picks of ways for families to craft, cook, and read their way through the High Holidays:

Ten Easy and Amazing Crafts for the High Holidays

  1. Have fun decorating handmade holiday cards for friends and family.
  2. Make colorful apple centerpieces for your table.
  3. Celebrate new beginnings by making Resolution Sticks.
  4. Knead honey-scented playdough so children can smell and feel holiday sweetness.
  5. Make homemade beeswax candles to share the light of Rosh Hashanah.
  6. Mark Your Steps into the New Year.
  7. Learn about Tashlich in a hands-on way.
  8. Create a Kindness Wheel for Yom Kippur.
  9. Make a Tzedakah box to care for others in need.
  10. Craft your own Shofar to blast at home during the month of Elul, to ring in Rosh Hashanah, and signify the end of the Yom Kippur.
Image via Creative Jewish Mom

Top Ten Recipes to Sweeten the New Year

Food is a great way to explore Jewish tradition and many families share a festive meal to welcome Rosh Hashanah. Try a new recipe this year or perfect a favorite to share with loved ones. Recipes can always be shared to kindle connectedness within our families and in our communities.

  1. Braid a round challah to represent a sweet new year.
  2. Serve your honey inside an apple bowl!
  3. These healthy apple muffins can be eaten at any time of day.
  4. We are all about apples! This apple cake is a decadent addition to your festive meal.
  5. Nothing says Rosh Hashanah quite like honey cake. This honey cake is always delicious!
  6. Enjoy these apple and honey cookie pops as an easy, no mess breakfast treat.
  7. Sweeten up your Rosh Hashanah meal with these sticky honey drumsticks.
  8. This Pomegranate and Honey Glazed Chicken will be a showstopper at your Rosh Hashanah table, featuring pomegranates which are a traditional and symbolic fruit from Israel.
  9. Fragrant Sephardic Jeweled Rosh Hashanah Rice embraces symbolic holiday foods.
  10. Nothing says ‘Jewish Holidays’ like a slice of kugel, according to Tori Avey. Make her Pineapple Raisin Noodle Kugel during the Days of Awe or to break the fast after Yom Kippur.
Sephardic Jeweled Rosh Hashanah Rice via

PJ Library High Holiday Books for All Ages

PJ Library shares Jewish stories that can help your family talk together about values and traditions that are important to you. Here are some of our favorite PJ Library books about the High Holidays, sorted by recommended reading age.

  1. Rosh Hashanah is Coming! (6 months to 2 years)
  2. One, Two, Three, Rosh Hashanah (2 to 4 years)
  3. Sammy Spider’s First Rosh Hashanah (2 to 4 years)
  4. Today is the Birthday of the World (2 to 4 years)
  5. Apple Days (4 to 5 years)
  6. Engineer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride (4 to 5 years)
  7. Red, Blue and Yellow Yarn: A Tale of Forgiveness (4 to 5 years)
  8. The Hardest Word (5 to 6 years)
  9. New Year at the Pier (6 to 7 years)
  10. Tashlich at Turtle Rock (7 to 8 years)

You can find all these books and more High Holiday stories on the PJ Library website.

May you honor the days of awe and the awesomeness of children as much as we do! Shana Tova U’Metukah – have a happy and sweet new year!

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August 26, 2020