Apples and honey make a sweet start for the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. They take no time to prepare, and even less time to eat: wash, slice, pour, dip, munch. Maybe this is why it’s so easy to take the custom for granted, to treat it like more of an appetizer than a minhag (custom). But how about if we slow things down and invite our kids to help? Even toddlers can operate a two-handle apple slicer with supervision. And what if we turned Rosh Hashanah apples and honey into an edible craft? The kids get a hands-on reference point to the holiday and a chance to practice kitchen skills, plus the thrill of turning an apple into a bowl. They’ll enjoy using the bowl for dipping chunks of Rosh Hashanah challah, too. A team effort takes a bit longer, but it can make the same old apples and honey way more fun and meaningful.

Don’t forget the special apple and honey blessings. Print this template to keep near the Rosh Hashanah table or glue it to an Apple-Print Blessings Placemat. Blessings— including the one we only use for Rosh Hashanah—turn a sweet treat into a mindful ritual.
 

You'll need:

Apples, small for slicing
Apple, a big one for the bowl (plus a spare, in case you mess up)
Lemon juice or quartered lemon
Cutting board
Apple slicer/corer with two handles
Serving plate
Paring knife (adults only)
Melon scoop/baller (or grapefruit spoon or apple corer)
Bowl for soaking apples slices in lemon water (optional)
Honey
 

The Apple Slices:

1. Place apple on cutting board. If child is helping, make sure the table surface is at a low working height. Standing at a sturdy child-size table is ideal. Close supervision is needed with any cutting tool.

2. Center apple slicer over the apple with a hand on each handle. Ask your child to put her hands over yours (because you need “help”) and push down together. You may need to rock it a bit from side to side.

3. Once your child has helped operate the slicer, she can try to do it herself. You may need to start the cut by applying just enough pressure to make an indentation. Make sure her hands are on the handles and nothing is underneath the slicer except that apple!

4. To keep cut apples white, your child can either wipe each piece with a lemon wedge or opt for the soak method: cover apple slices in lemon water (a few squeezes should do, but a typical ratio is one part lemon juice to three parts water). By the way, green apples don’t turn brown as quickly as red apples, and some varieties are slow to brown (like Cortland and Ginger Gold).
 

The Bowl:

1. Pretend an apple is a pumpkin and gut it in a similar fashion: cut out the top with a paring knife (adult) and scoop the insides with a melon baller (adult or kid). Try not to poke holes in the sides or bottom.

2. Kids can wipe the inside of the finished bowl with a lemon wedge to keep it from turning brown and yucky.
 

To Serve:

1. Let your child pour honey into the apple bowl and place it in the middle of a serving plate. Drain apple slices and arrange around the bowl.

2. Dip, bless, munch and enjoy.

For more ways to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, check out our new takes on apples and honey recipes, apple-print tablecloth craft, favorite kids' books, and tashlich activities.
 

Joanna Brichetto

Joanna Brichetto holds an MA in Jewish Studies from Vanderbilt University. She is a Jewish educator, mother of two, and blogs at Bible Belt Balabusta.