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rosh hashanah

Your Panic-Free Last-Minute Guide to Celebrating Rosh Hashanah

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Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, is fast approaching! This year, the Jewish holiday starts on Sunday, September 29th. Eeek!

First things first: Don’t panic. If you’re a bit late in planning your Rosh Hashanah meal — or need to bring a dish to one — or if you’re just a little anxious to make this new year relevant for your little ones, we’re here to help.

How to Explain Rosh Hashanah to Your Kids

Let’s start with the basics, what Rosh Hashanah is all about: It’s the Jewish new year! Rosh Hashanah literally means “head of the year” in Hebrew, and it’s considered the birthday of the world. We have a basic explainer of everything you need to know about Rosh Hashanah, so that’s a great place to start. And you know what? If you’ve got preschoolers around the house, turns out Daniel Tiger is actually really good at explaining what the holiday is all about!

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about food.

All the Rosh Hashanah Recipes You Need

Before you start eating, why don’t you set the table first? Here are some inspiring Rosh Hashanah tablescapes for you.

Looking for some apple and honey hacks? Squeeze some lemon juice on those apples to keep them from browning. Plus, you can make a honey bowl out of an apple, so you can just gobble it up when you’re done with it, no need to fuss with a sticky bowl. (Sorry, we have no advice on how to avoid sticky honey hands, but if you have any intel please reach out!)

This brie, honey, and apple pull-apart bread is the killer, easy-to-make appetizer your Rosh Hashanah dinner needs. Your family and friends will not stop noshing.

Looking for some Rosh Hashanah dinner menus? We got you, boo!

Here’s a Rosh Hashanah menu, with recipes from amazing Kveller moms:

If you must: gefilte fish. If you’re not a fan of the jarred stuff, try making your own!

Starters: apple, carrot, and potato soup or chicken soup with matzah balls and/or chopped liver

Main: honey-baked chicken and/or brisket

Sides:  pomegranate poppy seed salad and/or tzimmes or carrot souffle  and/or Sephardic jeweled Rosh Hashanah rice

Dessert: apple-raisin kugel  and/or apple pecan galette

But that’s not all: Shannon Sarna over at The Nosher (who is also the co-host of Kveller’s podcast Call Your Mother) has some great sample Rosh Hashanah menus for you, too.

And don’t worry, you can buy everything for your Rosh Hashanah dinner at our favorite place: Trader Joe’s. Here’s a shopping list that will make your life so much easier.

Looking for some Rosh Hashanah dinner hacks? Our friends at The Nosher have all the time-saving hacks you need.

Looking for some fun, kid-friendly recipes? How about these honey cake cupcakes? Baked apples and honey? Or a delicious apple monkey bread?

Looking for some tasty Rosh Hashanah treats for your baby or toddler? How about some smashed tsimmes or homemade apple sauce.

Want to up your challah game this Rosh (yeah, that’s what the cool kids call it!)? Try this honey-topped challah, addictive and topical! Want to up it even more? Try this gorgeous balsamic apple date challah — it’s the stuff dreams are made of.

Go for the classic Rosh Hashanah desserts: We’ve got your honey cake recipe and your apple cake recipe, right here.

Want to take apple and honey to the next level? We have some delicious recipes that take the basic apple and honey combination to new heights.

Hey, and don’t forget to get your Rosh Hashanah drink on! How about some green apple soda for the little ones, and some apple jello shots for you, or this beautiful apple cocktail.

But don’t go overboard! As one mom argues, we need to stop overcooking for the holidays. Hear, hear!

OK. Now that our stomachs are full, we can discuss the meaning of the holiday.

How to Make Rosh Hashanah More Meaningful for Your Kids (and You)

Should I take my kids to High Holiday services?

The eternal question: Should we take — or, um, force, as the case may be — our kids to attend High Holidays services? We can’t answer that question for you, but we can show you two sides of the coin, because we really believe you need to make the right choice for you  and your family.

For Kveller writer (and podcast host) Jordana Horn, going to High Holiday services with her kids is a MUST“Going to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services as a family is a very powerful experience that may seem like a minor decision, but will, in fact, become a deep, visceral memory for your child,” she writes.

For writer Eileen Price, who is a member of a Modern Orthodox synagogue, forcing your kids to go to synagogue for the High Holidays is a big no-no. “Practicing Judaism is not a punishment; it is a privilege and a gift,” she writes.

How about some fun activities to get my kid excited about Rosh Hashanah?

Boy, have we got some Rosh Hashanah crafts for you! You can make apple print placemats, this paper plate apple art, a stained glass apple plate, or this apple tablecloth craft. You can also make cards, design tablescapes, or even make a Rosh Hashanah craft museum.

Throw a birthday party for the world. Mazel tov!

Are you enjoying these first tastes of lovely fall weather? There’s also no better way to get your kids excited about Rosh Hashanah then to go outside, go apple picking, and take a walk in nature.

And if all else fails, engage their sweet tooth! Do an apple tasting or a honey tasting at home!

One of the best rituals of Rosh Hashanah for kids is tashlich, when Jews throw bread into a body of water to symbolize the casting away of our sins of the past year. Here are some ways to make the ritual of tashlich even more engaging.

And if your kids love books, here are some great Rosh Hashanah books for you to read as a family.

And there’s always music! Like this beautiful Rosh Hashanah prayer set to a Sia song or this Maccabeats song that’s perfect for the holiday.

Some more Rosh Hashanah reading for you

If you’ve got some free time and are looking to get in the High Holiday mood, may we suggest one of these articles:

The Sweetest Hebrew Baby Names Inspired By the High Holidays

My Rosh Hashanah Resolution: Accepting My Child With ADD

I’m Biking 100 Miles on Rosh Hashanah. Here’s Why.

Why This Rabbi Is Staying Home This Rosh Hashanah

My Son Had a Rosh Hashanah Meltdown but That’s Not What I Remember

In My Boisterous Jewish Family, I Struggle to Be Heard. And Then I Blew the Shofar.

And last but not least:

4 Ways to Make Use of All That F*ing Rosh Hashanah Honey

Chag shameach!

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