Helping Kids Understand Tashlich

Rosh Hashanah tradition

One of my new Rosh Hashanah books broaches territory that is more complicated than eating apples dipped in honey. [For a good Rosh Hashanah book for younger children, read our blog about Sammy Spider's First Rosh Hashanah.] “New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story,” was written by April Halprin Wayland, illustrated by Stephane Jorisch. The story helps young readers understand the basics of the ceremony of Tashlich, from the perspective of Izzy who is sorry for several of his transgressions from the past year. It’s easy for him to admit to three: drawing on Miriam’s forehead, … [Read more...]

With Apologies to Sammy Spider

Jewish holiday

Our local public library is doing a program about the Jewish high holidays. And they didn’t have any recent books about Rosh Hashanah for children, so I purchased several – to share with them and to share with you over the next few weeks. I have to admit – I’d never read the Sammy Spider books, and I had a preconceived notion of what they might be. I was so wrong. “Sammy Spider’s First Rosh Hashanah,” written by Sylvia Rouss and illustrated by Katherine Kahn, is charming. I bought the large paperback, so the illustrations have lots of real estate to show their bright, showy, happy … [Read more...]

Need More Poppy Seeds in Your Life?

Note from Mom - priceless

Mohn. Poppy seeds. When I was a child, they were – out and away – the most popular filling for hamentaschen. But they were also the key ingredient in Mom's Poppy Seed Cake (see recipe below). And this is the note (above) she wrote on the recipe for me. Check out our new article on, "What Makes a Dessert Jewish?" It wasn't just our home, though, where poppy seeds had an important place, far beyond the triangular goodies for Purim. Joan Nathan invites us to visit a living museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where early 20th century life is preserved.  Reenactor … [Read more...]

Color with Your Kids for Rosh Hashanah

Celebrate Rosh Hashanah with art

Our kids love when we play what they want, don’t they? I remember going camping with another family, when our girls were young elementary age and their kids were 4 and 18 months. The toddler could spend hours in a dry creek bed picking up and making piles of sticks and stones. When we all started doing the same thing – even though we were actually looking for “fairy stones” (a specific kind of stone) – he looked absolutely tickled. Wow, he got us to do what he wanted. On another camping trip, our girls and I got out acrylic paints and meandered away the afternoon, exploring color and … [Read more...]

The Dot – #JewishBookFun4Kids – #6

Rosh Hashanah art can begin with dots!

The Dot, written by Peter H. Reynolds, was a discovery for me that sparked an instant passion. Thanks to our reading specialist daughter, Laura Pajor, for knowing that I’d totally groove on the idea. And I’ve been saving it to share until before Rosh Hashanah, because there’s a great tie-in with the holiday. In this story, little Vashti was sitting glumly in art class, with a blank sheet of paper in front of her. She was sure that she could not draw. At first, her teacher tried to jolly her along. Then she said something that made all the difference: “Just make a mark and see where it … [Read more...]