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high holidays

High Holidays 2016: Where to Celebrate with Kids in New Jersey

Apple and honey,  jewish New Year Rosh Hashana traditional food

The fall holidays are upon us and there are so many ways to celebrate in the Greater MetroWest New Jersey area, which includes Essex, Union, Morris, Somerset, and Sussex counties. Celebrate the Jewish New Year with PJ Library, do yoga in the park, or learn Jewish martial arts in a sukkah (really).

Still looking for somewhere to go to synagogue on Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur? We’ve also compiled a list of free, family-friendly services in the area.

Rosh Hashanah begins on Sunday evening, Oct. 2 and ends on Tuesday evening, Oct. 4.
Yom Kippur begins on Tuesday evening, Oct. 11 and ends on Wednesday evening, Oct. 12.
Sukkot begins on Sunday evening, Oct. 16 and continues through Sunday evening, Oct. 25.

Holiday Programs

Selichot Family Activities
Get ready for the holiday season with a family activity, BBQ, and Havdalah, followed by Selichot services. RSVP requested, all ages.
Temple Sholom, 1925 Lake Ave, Scotch Plains
Saturday, Sept. 24, 6 – 8 p.m.

In a Holi-Daze?
Get ready for the High Holiday season with activities for all ages, and bring home ideas and materials to help make your holiday celebrations even more special. RSVP requested but not required. Sponsored by PJ Library, The Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, JCC of MetroWest, and NJY Camps.
JCC MetroWest, 760 Northfield Ave, West Orange
Sunday, Sept. 25, 5 – 6:30 p.m.

Torah Tot Time – High Holidays
An interactive morning of learning, music, and play exploring the upcoming fall holidays. For children ages 18 months to 6 years and their grown-up of choice. RSVP requested but not required. Free and open to all.
Temple Beth Am Parsippany, 879 South Beverwyck Rd, Parsippany
Sunday, Sept. 25, 9:45 – 11:15 a.m.

PJ Library & Gottesman Academy – Rosh Hashanah, Chinese New Year Style!
Celebrate Rosh Hashanah with a craft activity and Chinese food for dinner. Best for ages 2 – 6 years, free and open to all, RSVP requested but not required.
Gottesman RTW Academy, 146 Dover Chester Rd, Randolph
Thursday, Sept. 29, 5 – 7 p.m.

Yoga in the Park @ the South Orange Duck Pond
Cast off negative behaviors and unwanted characteristics in an outdoor yoga session mirroring the tashlich ritual. Sponsored by Oheb Shalom and South Mountain Yoga. Free, BYO yoga mat.
South Orange Duck Pond, 170 Scotland Rd, South Orange
Sunday, Oct. 9, 11 a.m. – Noon

Surprise Lake Camp Sukkot Festival & Feast
Join a sukkah building contest, harvest and take home vegetables from the farm, and dig into a delicious BBQ in the giant lakeside sukkah. Fun for all ages.
Surprise Lake Camp, 382 Lake Surprise Rd, Cold Spring, NY
Sunday, Oct. 9, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Sukkot Block Party
Celebrate Sukkot with music, food trucks, crafts, magicians, pumpkin picking, and bobbing for apples. All ages.
Temple B’nai Abraham, 300 East Northfield Rd, Livingston
Sunday, Oct. 16, 10 a.m. – Noon

Sensory-Friendly Sukkot Experience
A small group experience for individuals of all ages, learning styles, and abilities with laughing, play, and noshing in the sukkah. RSVP requested.
Temple Beth Shalom, 193 E. Mount Pleasant Ave, Livingston
Sunday, Oct. 16, 6 p.m.

PJ Library Toro Dojo in the Sukkah
A lesson in the Jewish martial art of Toro Dojo followed by dinner in the sukkah. RSVP requested, but not required, best for ages 4 – 7 years accompanied by an adult.
Golda Och Academy, 122 Gregory Ave, West Orange
Wednesday, Oct. 19, 5 – 6:30 p.m.

Torah Tot Time – Sukkot
Play, sing, and dance, all while learning about the holiday of Sukkot and visiting the synagogue sukkah. For children ages 18 months – 6 years and a grown-up, RSVP requested but not required.
Temple Beth Am Parsippany, 879 South Beverwyck Rd, Parsippany
Sunday, Oct. 23, 9:45 – 11:15 a.m.

Family-Friendly Sukkot Brunch
Make your own candy sukkah and a take-home craft while enjoying brunch in the synagogue sukkah. Advance registration requested.
Temple Beth Shalom, 193 E. Mount Pleasant Ave, Livingston
Sunday, Oct. 23, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

High Holiday Services

Monday, Oct. 3 – Rosh Hashanah 1st Day

Children’s Rosh Hashanah Service
Rosh Hashanah service for families with children ages 8 and under with storytelling, guitar music, and age-appropriate prayers along with a special visit from the rabbi and cantor.
Temple Sholom, 1925 Lake Ave, Scotch Plains
9 – 9:45 a.m.

Rosh Hashanah Yaldeinu Special Needs Service
A relaxed and joyous Rosh Hashanah experience for children and young adults with special needs. The service will be led by a special needs educator.
Congregation B’nai Israel/Millburn, 160 Millburn Ave, Millburn
9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Rosh Hashanah Mini Minyan
For toddlers and preschoolers ages 5 and under and their families.
Congregation Beth El, 222 Irvington Ave, South Orange
11 a.m. – Noon

High Holiday Family Service
For families with young children ages 8 and under.
Temple Emanu-El, 756 E. Broad St, Westfield
3 – 5 p.m.

Yeladim Tot Service
Service featuring stories and music geared toward infants through preschool-aged children and their families.
Temple Emanu-El of West Essex, 264 W. Northfield Rd, Livingston
3 – 4 p.m.

High Holiday Special Needs Experience
A brief outdoor tashlich service followed by an interactive program designed to be accessible and sensitive to a variety of needs. RSVP requested, all ages, snacks will be available.
Temple Beth Shalom, 193 East Mount Pleasant Ave, Livingston
6:45 – 7:30 p.m.

Family Tashlich @ Briant Park
Join Temple Sha’arey Shalom for a community ceremony with stories, songs, and the tashlich ritual. Casual dress, all ages.
Briant Park, Morris Ave side of the park, Summit
2 – 3 p.m.

Tashlich @ Canoe Brook Bridge
Join Temple Emanu-El of West Essex for the traditional tashlich ceremony at Canoe Brook Bridge, behind the Livingston Municipal Building.
Meet in the Livingston Police Building parking lot
4:30 – 5 p.m.

Family Tashlich @ Watchung Lake
Join the Chai Center for a brief tashlich ceremony at Watchung Lake Gazebo.
Watchung Lake Gazebo, Mountain Blvd, Watchung
4:30 – 5:15 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 4 – Rosh Hashanah 2nd Day

Rosh Hashanah Mini Minyan
For toddlers and preschoolers ages 5 and under and their families.
Congregation Beth El, 222 Irvington Ave, South Orange
11 a.m. – Noon

Second Day Pray & Play
An informal service for families with newborns up to age 5 (older siblings welcome) with singing, dancing, a nosh, and playtime.
Temple Sholom, 1925 Lake Ave, Scotch Plains
11 a.m. – Noon

Wednesday, Oct. 12 – Yom Kippur

Children’s Yom Kippur Service
A Yom Kippur service with storytelling, guitar music, and age-appropriate prayers along with a special visit from the rabbi and cantor. Geared toward families with children ages 8 and under.
Temple Sholom, 1925 Lake Ave, Scotch Plains
9 – 9:45 a.m.

Yom Kippur Yaldeinu Special Needs Service
A relaxed and joyous Yom Kippur experience for children and young adults with special needs. The service will be led by a special needs educator.
Congregation B’nai Israel/Millburn, 160 Millburn Ave, Millburn
9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

B’Yachad-All Together Yom Kippur Program & Service
A quiet, intimate service, story, and holiday-appropriate craft project for children with special needs and their families.
Congregation Beth El, 222 Irvington Ave, South Orange
9:30 – 10:15 a.m.

Yom Kippur Mini Minyan
For toddlers and preschoolers ages 5 and under and their families.
Congregation Beth El, 222 Irvington Ave, South Orange
11 a.m. – Noon

High Holyday Family Services
For families with young children ages 8 and under.
Temple Emanu-El, 756 E. Broad St, Westfield
2 – 3 p.m.

Yom Kippur Children’s Service
Yom Kippur service with stories, dancing, and singing, for children ages 8 and under and their friends and family.
Temple Sha’arey Shalom, 78 South Springfield Ave, Springfield
2:15 – 3 p.m.

Yeladim-Tot Service: Yom Kippur
Service featuring stories and music geared toward infants through preschool-aged children and their families.
Temple Emanu-El of West Essex, 264 W. Northfield Rd, Livingston
2:30 – 4 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 17, Sukkot – 1st Day

Sukkot Mini Minyan
Toddlers and preschoolers and their families will celebrate the holiday of Sukkot.
Congregation Beth El, 222 Irvington Ave, South Orange
Monday, Oct. 17, 11 a.m. – Noon


Editor’s Note: These pages were prepared using the most current information available, but before you pack up and shlep the kids out of the house, we recommend checking with each individual event organizer/organization to make sure that all of the information listed is correct.


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