As Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot approach, we are asking ourselves how we will participate in these events without in-person community. Here are some ideas for family-friendly celebrations and learning.
First, here are the dates for the 2020 Jewish High Holidays:
- Rosh Hashanah: Friday, Sep 18 to Sunday, Sep 20 2020
- Yom Kippur: Sunday, Sep 27, 2020 to Monday, Sep 28, 2020
- Sukkot: Friday, Oct 2, 2020 to Monday, Oct 9, 2020
Rosh Hashanah activities for East Bay kids and families
The High Holy Days season marks the Jewish New Year and is a time filled with family, friends, and celebration. Below are some wonderful Jewish holiday activities to share with your family. We wish you and your loved ones a sweet and happy new year!
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, made together. This kid-friendly recipe won’t fail you.
- Challah is round for Rosh Hashana to symbolize the cycle of the years. Grand Bakery in Oakland, Afikomen in Elmwood, and Saul’s Delicatessen in Berkeley are ready for your Rosh Hashanah needs.
Special for 2020: Rosh Hashanah Zoom Backgrounds from Everyday Jewish Mom to make your attendance at an online service or family dinner more fun
Setting intentions or resolutions for the New Year can be a family activity. Child psychologist, Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith, a San Leandro mom, suggests working on a family mission statement, which can include “Standing up for our beliefs”, “Being kind to everyone”, or “Speaking up when something is hurting other people.” Include the children in a discussion of what your family’s statement should include.
For a full family Rosh Hashanah dinner, Market Hall has online ordering and curbside pick-up.
Yom Kippur activities for East Bay kids and families
Ten days after Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur invites us to spend a whole day apologizing for the mistakes we have made in the past year. Adults traditionally do not eat on this day and then break their fast at the end in 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. Here’s a list of local organizations that protect the well-being of Black children. Making a donation to a food pantry in honor of the food not eaten that day is a popular gesture of atonement as well.
Sukkot Activities for Kids
No holiday could be more appropriate for this pandemic than Sukkot, during which we eat our meals outside in an open-air hut, called a Sukkah. Building your backyard structure is part of the fun, but you can also simply order one.
- Decorate the Sukkah with family photos, found branches and flowers, or whatever makes you happy. A full-on Sukkah is too much? This child-sized cardboard version might keep everyone busy for a few days.
- Use the Sukkah as a reading nook, even for bedtime books. Bring blankets and a flashlight!
- Ready to DIY? You can build from scratch with PVC pipes, bedsheets, and bamboo mats, or use an existing pop-up tent or camping tent and improvise.
Special for 2020: We usually use the Sukkah to welcome guests for meals. Invite stuffed animals to join you for meals this year.