The High Holy Days season is a time filled with family, friends, and celebration. We have partnered with PJ Library Bay Area to bring you this high holidays guide of activities, programs, and kid-friendly resources.
This year, Rosh Hashanah begins Monday, September 6, and ends Wednesday, September 8. Yom Kippur begins Wednesday, September 15, and ends Thursday, September 16.
Shanah Tovah (Happy New Year)! The Jewish new year of 5782 kicks off on Rosh Hashanah when people wish each other Shanah Tovah – a sweet new year! Together, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur make up the Jewish High Holidays with the ten days in between known as the “days of awe.”
Rosh Hashanah activities for East Bay kids and families
At-home Rosh Hashanah activities
Eat sweet foods to ring in a sweet new year:
- Simple version, dip apples in honey. PJ Library has a few other takes on this classic Rosh Hashanah snack.
- Level up with an apple cake you can make together. This kid-friendly recipe won’t fail you.
- Eat round challah bread to symbolize the cycle of the years. Grand Bakery in Oakland, Afikomen in Elmwood, and Saul’s Delicatessen in Berkeley are ready with circular challah for your Rosh Hashanah needs.
Tip: For a full family Rosh Hashanah dinner, Market Hall has online ordering and curbside pick-up.
In-person Rosh Hashanah events
Please plan ahead, some of the in-person children’s activities require tickets or RSVP.
- Sunday, August 22, 10:30 am: gathering with singing, dancing, and puppets in North Berkeley: Rosh Hashanah event for ages 0 to 5 at Beth El. RSVP.
- Sunday, August 22, 3:30 pm art workshop in El Cerrito: Rosh Hashanah-themed Art Workshop & Open Play
- Sunday, August 29, 11 am in Oakland: Kids Challah Bake and High Holiday Fair at Chabad of Oakland
- Sunday, September 5, 11 am to 1 pm Meet the Bees event at Strawberry Creek Park, Berkeley: High Holiday Fair with beekeepers, crafts, and more.
- Sunday, September 5, 10:30 am to noon at Tilden Park: East Bay Rosh Hashanah Celebration (0-5) with dance and puppetry. RSVP.
- Monday, September 6, 10 am in Alameda: Early Childhood Service (0-5) with Octopretzel’s Melita at Temple Israel
- Monday, September 6, 4 pm in Berkeley: Rosh Hashanah celebration at Indian Rock Park
- Monday, September 6, 6:30 pm in Berkeley: Urban Adamah Erev Rosh Hashanah
- Monday, September 6, 3 pm in Oakland: Camp Tawonga Erev Rosh Hashanah Celebration at Joaquin Miller Park
- Tuesday, September 7, 10:30 am in Berkeley: Urban Adamah Rosh Hashanah Day 1
- Tuesday, September 7, 9 am B’Nai Tikvah FREE Tot Rosh Hashanah services (five and under please), outdoors and masked. Please register.
- Tuesday, September 7, 9 am family services and 12:45 pm in Berkeley: Relaxed family picnic (BYO) and tashlich.
- Tuesday, September 7, 5 pm at Arlington Park: Shofar in the park with holiday treats and songs. (RSVP)
- Tuesday, September 7, 4:30 pm in Walnut Creek: Children’s service in Civic Center Park followed by Tashlich. Find more information.
- Wednesday, September 8, 3 pm Oakland: Tashlich and Community Picnic at Lake Temescal
Start this new year off with free monthly Jewish children’s books sent directly to your home from PJ Library Bay Area – Sign Up Today!
Yom Kippur activities for East Bay kids and families
The ten days beginning with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur are called the Ten Days of Teshuvah (Ten Days of Returning) – turning away from our mistakes and returning to the “best self” we can be. We have a special opportunity to focus on our relationships, to say we’re sorry for things we’ve done wrong, and to discuss how to make our connections to family, friends, and community stronger.
- Adults traditionally do not eat on this day. They break their fast at the end with a celebratory meal. Instead of fasting, older kids might give something else up, such as treats or technology for the day.
- A short discussion about what makes a good apology is appropriate for younger children. Writing down past mistakes on magical disappearing paper and letting them wash away in a bowl of water is a favorite ritual.
- Doing good deeds and charitable acts is another Yom Kippur tradition. Making a donation to a food pantry in honor of the food not eaten that day is a popular gesture of atonement as well.
Visit PJ Library Bay Area’s Yom Kippur Resource Hub to learn more about the holiday and find kid-friendly activities for home.
In-person & Hybrid Yom Kippur family events (more will be added throughout the season)
- Thursday, September 16, 9-9:45 am: Jewish Gateways Yom Kippur Family Service (virtual) for children under 9 and families. Register early for supply kits.
- Thursday, September 16, 10 am children’s concert and service in Alameda: Led by Melita from Octopretzel for ages 0-5, this short Early Childhood Service at Leydecker Park is affiliated with Temple Israel
- Thursday, September 16, 9 am B’Nai Tikvah FREE Tot Yom Kippur Services (five and under please), outdoors and masked. Please register.
We wish you and your family a healthy, happy New Year and a meaningful Yom Kippur.
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