Rosh Hashanah 2013

Rosh Hashanah 2013 will start after sunset September 4. We’ve celebrated the last few years and really enjoyed it. There are plenty of good books and websites to help your children (and you!) understand more about Rosh Hashanah. Here are some of my favorites:

Shofar (by Alphonse Lévy) Caption says: "...

Shofar (by Alphonse Lévy) Caption says: “To a good year” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • chabad.org This site has lots of information about all the Jewish holidays, with games, activities, recipes and more. There’s even a page with a “to-do” list to help you remember when to light the candles and what to say on each day.
  • Akidsheart.com has some nice coloring pages with explanations and scriptures about trumpets and the holiday
  • schoolfamily.com has a long page of links to coloring pages, word searches and crossword with a Rosh Hashanah theme
  • torah.org has an extensive section with pages like “7 questions people ask about Rosh Hashanah”
  • Messianic Jewish Musings has many articles about Rosh Hashanah that I found very enjoyable. This link is to a page that lists all Derek Leman’s  blog entries about Rosh Hashanah. His site is a wealth of information on all the holidays and what they mean. He’s also written a book entitled Feast that does an excellent job explaining the feasts and how to celebrate them.

After reading through many of these sites, I was a bit confused. Some said it’s a new year, let’s celebrate. Some said it’s the beginning of a solemn time of introspection. Some even said it’s a day that no one knows. Hmmm…What’s a Gentile girl to do? Well, Derek Leman had an excellent post called “The Mysteries of Rosh Hashanah.” I think he summed it up best:

It’s a day of shofar blowing, but the Bible never mentions a shofar.

Strictly speaking, the whole association with shofars may be completely post-biblical.

It’s a day of remembrance, but we don’t know of what.

It’s a day of a loud sound, but we don’t know of what.

It’s a joyous day, a festival, but in utter contradiction it’s a day of wailing and preparation for judgment.

It’s a day we can’t decide whether to eat apples and honey, pop streamers, and shout, or to beat our chests in abject introspection.

It is a new year that is not a new year.

Rosh Hashanah is a mystery.

I feel comforted to know that the mystery doesn’t stop with just me. If a rabbi thinks there are mysterious parts, so can I. I highly recommend reading his entire essay!

There are many sites that have entire collections of recipes. Here are a few:

  • Allrecipes.com has a large collection with ratings by users
  • Epicurious has “festive menus”, articles on baking challah and of course interesting recipes
  • Martha Stewart of course has a lovely section of photos and recipes
  • torah.org has a nice page of recipes as well

You should also be able to pick up some books at your local library or amazon.com. One of my favorites is A Family Guide to Biblical Holidays, which you can find on my Amazon page. It has sections on each Jewish holiday, with descriptions of how the Jewish people celebrated in the past and today, and a Messianic interpretation as well.

Our meal plan from last year was: matzoh ball soup–from a mix at the store, brisket (not corned beef brisket), mashed potatoes, a veggie or two, honey challah, and of course apples and honey in some form! Honeyed Apple Torte is perfect for dessert. I printed out some coloring pages for the kids, read some books with them, and we listened to the sound of the shofar from the internet, since our dear Jewish friends were in Israel last year and we were on our own.

Challah baked in a “turban” loaf–make a long rope, then coil it tightly on the baking sheet before allowing it to rise.

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