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Sep 23 2014

Five Tablescapes To Inspire You For Rosh Hashanah 

By at 11:54 am

rosh-hashanah-1

The High Holy Days are quickly coming, and if you are like me, you are probably already planning your Rosh Hashanah celebration. I happen to adore Rosh Hashanah and consider it to be one of my favorite holidays. What isn’t to love about celebrating a sweet New Year? Because the symbols of apples and honey feature so predominantly in celebrating this auspicious event, I usually feature them throughout my menu and my table decor. Here are five ways you can bring the elements of apples and honey into your own home. (Above image via Style Me Pretty)

1. Apples & Flowers. Read the rest of this entry →

Confessing Our Sins–Virtually!

By at 11:07 am

e-scapegoat

I’ve always loved the Jewish High Holidays. The blowing of the shofar, the time spent with family, the food (oh! the food!), and the overall sense of starting over with a clean slate. And now, as a parent, I’ve truly come to appreciate the opportunity for reflection and forgiveness that the High Holidays provide. Even with Yom Kippur–a mostly somber affair–we have a chance to own up to our wrongdoings, apologize for them, vow to do our best not to repeat them, and then start anew.

What better parenting tool than that?

Over the past few years we’ve really started to fine-tune our own personal family traditions around the High Holidays. If we’re not visiting family, we will spend the second day of Rosh Hashanah taking a walk through our local woods, ending up at a small brook in order to do tashlich. Tashlich–the symbolic practice of washing away our sins–is a powerful one for both kids and adults alike. My son was around 4 years old the first time he grasped what it was all about. I explained to him that each piece of bread represented a behavior, action, or thought that we wanted to change in the New Year. We toss the bread in the water and it washes the poor thoughts and actions away, giving us space to do better. He would throw in crumbs and say, “No hitting!” or, “No yelling!” As he grew older, his answers became more nuanced and thoughtful.  Read the rest of this entry →

The High Holidays Are Not The Same Without My Kids

By at 9:50 am

holidays-without-kids

My children and I will be spending the High Holidays apart this year. This is nothing new. When my now ex-husband left our home in Albany five years ago and moved back in with his parents on Long Island, part of our agreement was that our son and daughter would spend most of the Jewish holidays with him and his family. They were 2.5 and 5 years old at the time.

During the first year of our marriage separation, I travelled to Long Island with my children for Passover. I was not ready to let go. It was all so new, this idea of not being with my chubby-cheeked babes every moment of the day. I stayed with a friend-of-a-friend who opened up her house to me, aware of my tenuous grip on sanity as I prepared to leave my kids for a full day with their dad and grandparents for the very first time. I was scared.

Of course the visit went just fine, and subsequent holidays and alternating weekends carried on without me. My children are now 7.5 and 10 years old. They love the car rides down to Long Island, visits to museums, and–most importantly–time with their dad and grandparents. They are truly lucky to be loved by so many caring people. For this, I am blessed. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 22 2014

Celebrating the Holidays While Dad is at Work 

By at 3:37 pm

Celebrating holidays with dad at work

My husband and I grew up very differently–I in an Orthodox household that celebrated every single Jewish holiday, and he in a Reform one that acknowledged Passover, saw Rosh Hashanah as a good excuse to make brisket, and suffered through Yom Kippur.

When I began dragging my husband to family gatherings for holidays he’d previously never even heard of, he was a good sport about it–and he still is, when those holidays fall on the weekends. But for the past number of years, the holiday calendar has been particularly cruel to those of us bound by limited time off and jobs that don’t close for Jewish observances. And this year is no exception.

Now I’m not particularly upset about spending my vacation days on the holidays this year, especially since we don’t have any major travel plans. But try convincing someone who grew up the way my husband did that it’s worthwhile using up all your vacation time to celebrate every single holiday our religion boasts.  Read the rest of this entry →

What Are You Sorry For This Year? Help Us Rewrite a #KvellerVidui

By at 2:37 pm

Vidui-Prayer-Illustration-Traditional

Dear Kvellers,

One of the overarching themes of the High Holidays is atonement. In synagogue on Yom Kippur, we say the Vidui prayer, a confessional, in which we pound our chests and fess up to a host of sins that we, collectively, have committed throughout the year (i.e. I have lied, I have cheated, I have robbed).

This year we’d like to tweak the Vidui a little bit. Taking inspiration from one of our most popular High Holiday posts in which Jordana Horn adapted the Vidui for parents, this year Kveller will compile our own inventory of modern day sins and confessions. This is where you come in!  Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 18 2014

Why I Will Be Bringing My Kids to High Holiday Services

By at 4:57 pm

why i make my kids go to high holiday services

I will never forget the first time my parents took me to Kol Nidrei services, and the congregation stood, as the night fell, to put on their tallitot (prayer shawls). After the blessing, those who were standing like a forest of people all around me picked up their tallit and draped them over their shoulders. The movement of hundreds of people in silence all together was stunning. That silence was incredibly beautiful–and the wind that I felt from the lifting of the fabric felt to me, a small girl, like the wings of angels beating.

Eileen Price’s recent post on Kveller, “I Won’t Force My Kids to Attend High Holiday Services,” prompted me to respond. In my opinion, it is incredibly, incredibly important to bring children to services for the High Holidays. There are so many reasons, but to my mind, it all boils down to two simple ones:

1. No matter how Jewishly observant a person is the rest of the year, this is a time when all Jews come together as a community. Read the rest of this entry →

How the Shofar–and My 2-Year-Old–Helped Me Make Sense of a Somber Summer

By at 1:59 pm

Shofar

Every year around this time, Jewish families visit the graves of their relatives. Tradition. The high holidays are lurking around the corner. The shofar gets sounded in synagogue on a daily basis during the month of Elul, a time of eager anticipation. Maimonides teaches that the shofar is a type of alarm clock for all of us immersed in a spiritual slumber. Wake up, cries the ancient ram’s horn.

Somberness has been my recurring theme these past several months, given the violent climate of our world: The war in Israel. Violence in Ferguson. ISIS’ ongoing murderous rampage. I have also spent my summer working as a chaplain in a hospice, having been inspired to do so after my bubbe’s passing last winter. And I realize, as much as I would like to, I’m not quite emotionally ready for an alarm clock just yet.

I feel overwhelmed. How do we release ourselves of the imminence of traumatic feelings, especially when the disasters have not fully resolved? Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 17 2014

I Won’t Force My Kids to Attend High Holiday Services

By at 10:31 am

high-holidays-kids

That’s right. You heard me. I’m not doing it. I, a member of a Modern Orthodox shul, mother of four Jewish kids who keep kosher and observe Shabbat weekly, executive director of an Atlanta Jewish day camp, will not be forcing my kids to attend services on Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about since this summer at camp, and something I decided firmly last weekend while attending a Jewish family retreat.

Here’s the thing. My kids love being Jewish. It’s the essence of their being. It’s the foundation of their friendships. It’s the laughter and joy that fills their Saturdays. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 10 2014

Free Stuff Alert: Win These Funky Nail Decals for Rosh Hashanah from Midrash Manicures

By at 4:29 pm

High-Holiday-Nail-Decals

Can you believe Rosh Hashanah is just two weeks away? Well, now you can take on the new year in style with these lovely nail decals. Transform your holiday experience by sporting your very own shofar, apples, and honey–on your fingers.

Midrash Manicures is giving away a set of 44 easy-to-use, stick-on decals for adults and children. They last up to 10 days and include symbols from Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 3 2014

Free Stuff Alert: Rosh Hashanah Kids T-Shirts from Jewnion Label

By at 10:42 am

jewnion label apple dippers and honey drippers shirt giveaway

Here’s a sweet way to get your little ones excited about Rosh Hashanah: pint-sized t-shirts from Jewnion Label from their United Apple Dippers & Honey Drippers line! We love the taglines: “Sticking Together” and “L’Dor v’Dor/Jar to Jar.”

Jewnion Label makes smart, funny gear for all of the holidays, plus every day in between. Also themed around Rosh Hashanah: t-shirts, messenger bags, notecards, and more from the International Federation of Shofar Blowers (motto: “Shofar, So Good”), with a cheeky ram in the center.

We’ve got three free children’s “United Apple Dippers & Honey Drippers” t-shirts to give away to three lucky readers. To enter, just fill out the form below and we’ll choose a winner on Wednesday, September 10th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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