Some label Rosh HaShanah and the period between the New Year and Yom Kippur as "Judgment Days," a time during which the trajectory of our lives for the coming year is reached.
Related Blog Posts on Engaging Families with Young Children and High Holidays
As the high holidays approach, we are reminded that there are so many meaningful Jewish moments to celebrate. Within the joy and ruach (spirit) of holidays like Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot, and Simchat Torah, lies the solemn and serious Yom Kippur. There are a myriad of ways to make Yom Kippur meaningful for young children, for whom especially, Yom Kippur is not an easy holiday to understand.
Perhaps the act of gluing is a metaphor for tikkun olam, the act of repairing the world, which is central to our beliefs as Reform Jews. There are so many issues to ponder.
As we prepare for the High Holy Days, we engage in cheshbon hanefesh, an accounting of the soul. During the month of Elul, we look inward and reflect. This poem speaks to the possibilities of healing ourselves and our world.
Why is the pomegranate such a prominent symbol of Rosh HaShanah and what are some other ways to use it?
As I boarded the plane to Israel in the summer of 2002 for my first year of rabbinical school at HUC in Jerusalem, my mother said, "Please, just don't meet an Israeli." As soon as the plane touched down at Ben Gurion airport, I knew that I was home. A few months later, I met that Israeli. From our first conversation, he understood that I was studying to be a rabbi, and I understood that he wanted to live only in Israel.
I am vegan because I am Jewish. Everything that led me to a vegan practice came from my childhood where I kept kosher, learned by asking thoughtful questions, and practiced daily rituals like hand washing and reciting brachot that brought intention to aspects of daily life.
The month before the High Holidays, Elul, is a time of spiritual preparation and t'shuvah. This year, as we conclude a Shmita, or sabbatical year, after focusing on taking time to pause, rest and reflect, I feel a sense of urgency and the need to act.
Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur worship services are among the most attended services of the year. That can be a challenge when the worship experiences are not the easiest entry points to Judaism, especially compared to the joyousness of Simchat Torah, the food and rituals of Hanukkah, or the sensory stimulation of Passover.
As the sun sets on these long, hot summer days, caregivers begin planning for their children's return to school. Perhaps the most important transition is the one of the child walking into a new classroom and starting a new school year. It can be scary for them and for you!