Rosh Hashanah is the first of the High Holy Days. Literally meaning the “Head of the Year”, Rosh Hashanah is a time adults embark on a personal path of repentance. The holiday is deeply meaningful and a perfect time for parents to teach their children about Jewish customs and share fun activities. One of the best ways for adults to share the wonder and meaning of Rosh Hashanah is through crafts inspired by the holiday.
Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the month of Tishrei, which is the seventh month in the Jewish Calendar. The uniqueness of the Jewish calendar is characteristic of its importance in observing holidays, festivals and Shabbat. Making a Jewish calendar can be a great Rosh Hashanah craft for children.
Your child can make their calendar using a standard month/calendar template with 35 squares. Using a Jewish calendar as a guide, your child can mark the days of each month. Using stickers, markers and colored pencils, your child could add special occasions such as High Holy Days, the phases of the moon, other holidays, and birthdays to their calendar. In creating this useful and colorful Jewish calendar, your child will better understand the days of the week, changes in seasons, and the dates of the coming holidays.
Considered both a day of judgment and the day commemorating the creation, Rosh Hashanah is recognized as a day of rest and a day for sounding of the shofar. This unique instrument serves as a symbol of the Jewish people and their covenant with G-d. For young children, making a shofar is an easy and fun activity.
While most craft and discount stores won’t have a ram’s or sheep’s horn handy, there are many other ways to make this crafty wind instrument. For younger children, opt for the paper tube or coned birthday party hat method. For older children, you may want to try the shofar out of paper mache.
For the small children, simply shape your tube into a cone or just remove rubber and frills from the birthday hat. Once you have a cone shape, decorate! For more advanced children, take a wavy balloon and cover with paper mache. Once the paper mache dries, pop the balloon with a pin and remove it from the center of the paper mache. Add a cone-shaped mouthpiece and your child will have a very cleverly fashioned shofar to show and share.
While Rosh Hashanah goes by many names such as the Day of Remembrance or the Jewish New Year, making greeting cards will help your child spread the word and the spirit of this very special new year. In doing this, all you need are markers, glue, paper, stickers, glitter, scissors and paints.
In making Rosh Hashanah cards, you and your child can decorate your cards by using the symbols and themes for the holiday. Funny, cute or even clever cards adorned with apples, honey, trees, doves, shofars, and Jewish Symbols are great ideas. The interior of the card can include a special greeting or wish for “L’shanah tovah” which is Hebrew for “a good year.”
Tzedakah is the Hebrew word for charity and it is a fundamental Jewish mitzvah. During Rosh Hashanah, tzedakah is even more meaningful. Many Jewish homes have tzedakah boxes, and a wonderful way of teaching children the joy of giving is by having them create their own tzedakah boxes.
Tzedakah boxes come in all shapes and sizes. Some simply look like traditional piggy banks and others ornate boxes. For your child’s crafted box, use a shoe box, coffee can, cardboard sugar dispenser, or any other containers with a lid. Have your child decorate the exterior of the container with traditional Jewish symbols, such as the shofar. Stickers, paper and paints are all good choices. Once their box is decorated, make sure that a hole or slit is cut in the lid. In the case of the sugar dispenser, you can simply expose the opening. With their box complete, give your child, depending on their age, real or toy coins to fill their box.
Rosh Hashanah is nearly here! With these and other craft ideas, you and your child can share the wonderful experience of the holiday and your child can grow in his or her knowledge about the exciting traditions of the Jewish New Year.