The onset of fall means different things to different people, whether you're someone who can't wait to dive into pumpkin everything, or you simply love to dig out your favorite cozy sweaters. For people of the Jewish faith, the arrival of autumn also means breaking out Rosh Hashanah family traditions. Fall signifies the start of the High Holidays (or High Holy Days), and among them is Rosh Hashanah, the celebration of the Jewish New Year. While many families have staples that are custom to their annual festivities, it doesn't mean you might not need ideas for Rosh Hashanah family traditions to start in your own home.
Maybe you're looking for kid-friendly ways to explain Tashlich or you've never considered a rockin' Rosh Hashanah dance party, but there are always inventive new ways that you can take your New Year celebration up a notch. Plus, it never hurts to create a family tradition that not only gets everyone involved, but can be carried on for years to come and become a cherished memory.
Curious about what traditions might work for you and your crew? Here are some Rosh Hashanah ideas that will have the whole family excited about ringing in the New Year. All that's left do is say "Shanah tovah!" to family and friends.
1. Braid The (Round) Challah
Traditional challah is a long, braided bread (and it's absolutely delicious). But for Rosh Hashanah, the tradition is to make round challah as a means of symbolizing the "rounding" of a New Year.
Get kids in the kitchen, where you can flour your hands and roll out the dough together before you begin braiding your challah. Ask them to do the tucking that will bring the dough into the rounded shape you are seeking for the New Year's celebration.
2. Make Rosh Hashanah Greeting Cards
This is one Rosh Hashanah tradition that the whole family can totally DIY. Use construction paper, paints, stickers, and pens to make cards that you can send to your loved ones to say "Happy New Year!"
There are so many creative ideas for incorporating apples, pomegranates, and other Rosh Hashanah mainstays into your designs — just check out this greeting card idea board on Pinterest.
3. Dip Apples In Honey
Perhaps one of the most delicious parts of the holiday, dipping apples in honey is a Rosh Hashanah staple. History.com noted: "Ancient Jews believed apples had healing properties, and the honey signifies the hope that the New Year will be sweet. Rosh Hashanah meals usually include an assortment of sweet treats for the same reason."
Make this good luck tradition a family moment by dipping and eating apples together. We like to "cheers" ours before taking a bite and our daughter is now old enough to look forward to it and be the one who says, "Cheers!"
You might also want to add some pomegranates — another traditional Rosh Hashanah fruit — to your plates for an extra dose of New Year positivity.
4. Sing & Celebrate
5. Talk About Tashlich
Tashlich — the Jewish tradition of casting away sins at the start of the New Year — can become a treasured family tradition, especially if you break it down in a way that is easy for kids to understand. PJ Library suggested telling younger children that Tashlich is a time for saying "sorry." While it is custom for adults to cast off sins by throwing pebbles or bread crumbs into a body of water, the website noted kids can learn the same concept by writing with bath crayons on a bathtub wall and washing it away, or filling up a kids' pool for a mini version of the tradition.
6. Read A Book About The Holiday
Remind kids of the spirit of the holiday by snuggling up with a few books about Rosh Hashanah. Favorites include: Apple Days: A Rosh Hashanah Story by Allison Sarnoff Soffer, New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story by April Halprin Wayland (a fantastic book for teaching about Tashlich), and Happy Birthday, World: A Rosh Hashanah Celebration by Latifa Berry Kropf.