At sundown on September 25, Jews around the world will begin observing the holiday of Rosh Hashanah.
Translated as “head of the year,” Rosh Hashanah is one of four, yes, FOUR, Jewish “new years,” and is marked is a time for renewal of mind, body and spirit. The holiday leads off a period of deep prayer and reflection concluding with Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement.
I have long found the timing of Rosh Hashanah to be more auspicious than the secular new year that begins in January. The timing of the holiday alongside the start of fall and, for many, the transition from a more leisurely summer to the busier days of work and school make it an ideal time for checking in on where we are in our lives.
There are many aspects of Rosh Hashanah most Jews, myself included, would find appropriative if those with no affiliation with the religion were to adapt, however, anyone, regardless of religion or lack thereof, all of us can use this time to set our intentions for the coming year. Note, these aren’t resolutions, such as “lose 20 pounds” or “earn more money,” but rather a mindful path toward achieving our best selves.
In addition to running this blog and related social media channels, I run an Instagram account and Clubhouse club called, “Raising Jews.”
In our most recent discussion, we spoke about ways to make Passover fun for kids of all ages, and shared crafts, games and other ideas to make the holiday a joyous experience for everyone.
My main takeaway from the conversation was realizing our children reflect our attitudes and emotions. If we can find the joy in Passover, they can as well.
Of course, having some resources to help us make a memorable Passover helps, and once, again, PJ Library delivers with its extensive offering of books, music, games and more to create a meaningful holiday.
The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah began on Sunday evening, and you may have noticed your friends sharing pictures and videos of their Hanukkah festivities.
Hanukkah is a joyous celebration, and a popular Jewish festival. It is my kids’ favorite holiday, and for good reason! Who doesn’t love eight days of food, family and gifts?
Hanukkah is also one of the few Jewish observances those who aren’t Jewish (or connected to Judaism in some way) are familiar with, yet, despite the popularity of the holiday, many do not understand the full meaning and history behind Hanukkah.
As a Jew, and a mom, who cares about educating the world about Judaism, in hopes this might make others more tolerant and prevent antisemitism, I wanted to write this post to explain a bit more about Hanukkah.
Hanukkah is almost here, and I can already smell the latkes and see my kids smiling from all the holiday fun.
If your family is like mine, your kids are already looking forward to Hanukkah, and you are ready to make some special memories.
To help families embrace and share the joy of The Festival of Lights, PJ Library has updated its “Hanukkah Hub” for 2021 to bring Jewish and Interfaith families games, projects, recipes and more ways to make this year’s holiday one the family will cherish for years to come.
Lag B’Omer is a lesser-known Jewish celebration, which commerorates the 33rd day of the Omer, or time between the Jews leaving Egypt and their receiving of the Torah 40 days later.
So, what’s so special about the 33rd day, and why do we honor this occasion?
The answer depends on who you ask. However, many scholars believe Lag B’Omer is observed because, according to the Talmud, during the Omer, the esteemed sage Rabbi Akiva’s students were killed by the thousands, on all the days, save for the 33rd one.
Yikes! Seems like a dark reason for a celebration, but hey, have you seen pretty much every other Jewish festival? Celebrating not getting killed is our bread and butter, or bagel and schmear, if you prefer.
Passover is my favorite Jewish holiday, and even as a child, I loved the ritual and storytelling of the Seder.
Now, as a parent, I enjoy witnessing my own kids share in these traditions. However, I realize they (and frankly many grownups), may have trouble engaging in the Passover Seder. And, if your Seders tend to run on the longer side, they can be very overwhelming for little ones.
However, with some preparation and creativity, you can help make the Seder a wonderful experience for guests of all ages.
Costumes, treats, permission to make random noise? No wonder kids love Purim so much!
Indeed, Purim is an exciting and fun-filled holiday, and the story of Esther risking her life to save her people is an intriguing and adventurous tale, but parents of young children may worry that the more “adult” themes of the Book of Esther are too advanced for their kids.
Spending time in nature and appreciating the beauty of the world around them is an ideal I hope to instill in my kids that will stay with them for years to come.
Tu B’Shevat, which begins at sundown on January 27 and ends at nightfall on January 28, is known widely as the new year of the trees, or Jewish Earth Day. In Israel, this time of year is when the most rain falls, rain that we as Jews pray for, rain that brings fourth new life and new hope. We celebrate by eating new fruits and expressing our appreciation for new life.
Of course, if you live in area of the world that is smack in the middle of the cold winter months, it’s hard to imagine celebrating a holiday about growth and renewal.
Yet, even those of us living in colder climates can find ways to get out into nature and appreciate the beauty of the world.
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