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Rosh Hashanah: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Rosh Hashanah is a new year's celebration found in the Jewish faith. In this lesson, learn when this holiday occurs, discover traditions that are practiced and foods that are eaten during Rosh Hashanah.

Rosh Hashanah: the Jewish New Year

When you think of beginning a new year, you might immediately think of the parties, fireworks, and other celebrations held on the last day of December. However, people who practice the Jewish religion celebrate the new year during a different month and in a different way. The Jewish new year is called Rosh Hashanah (pronounced ro-shah-shaw-nuh). Let's find out how this new year celebration is similar to and different from the one you might be familiar with.

A Jewish synagogue, where ceremonies are held for Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah is held during the seventh month of the Jewish calendar, which is most often in September. It lasts for two days, beginning at sundown on the first day. During this holiday, Jewish people gather at religious centers called synagogues (pronounced sin-uh-gogz), where they participate in special rituals and prayers. This is also a time to reflect on the year gone by and think about how the upcoming year can be better. That sounds similar to other new year's practices, doesn't it?

Tashlikh

One ceremony held during Rosh Hashanah that doesn't happen in a synagogue is called Tashlikh (pronounced tahsh-leekh). This is a tradition where Jewish people gather at a river, stream, or fountain. They empty their pockets, which they've sometimes filled with pieces of bread prior to the ceremony. Whatever is in their pockets symbolizes their sins, which they cast into the water, and so begin the new year with a fresh start.

A Tashlikh ceremony during Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah

Foods and the Shofar

If you were to describe honey, what adjective would you use? Probably 'sweet' would be the word that first comes to mind. During Rosh Hashanah, Jewish people eat apples or bread dipped in honey to symbolize their hopes for sweetness in the new year. They also eat pomegranates because they have many seeds; the seeds symbolize the many commandments that Jewish people follow during the new year.

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