Let’s talk about three wonderful children’s books to celebrate this year’s Rosh Hashanah.
What is Rosh Hashanah?
Rosh Hashanah is one of the most important holidays in the Jewish calendar. It is part of a set of holidays we Jews call the High Holy Days. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, and is spent reflecting on oneself, and doing away with all the sins of the past year. The holiday spans over two days, and is celebrated with special temple services, where prayers are chanted and a shofar, a ceremonial ram horn, is blown.
My Jewish Childhood and Books
When I was a child, I learned much about my Jewish heritage and religion through books read to me at Hebrew School. Looking back on it, I think the books I was exposed to during those Sundays made the process of learning much easier. I honestly think I could not have retained and understood everything any other way. So without further ado, here are some great children’s books about the holiday Rosh Hashanah.
1. Rosh Hashanah is Coming, by Tracy Newman
This adorable book teaches children about the important parts of Rosh Hashanah, like blowing the shofar, as depicted in the cover (shown above). And other traditions like having apples with honey, and the significance of the pomegranate, and making a round challah. The book uses the chorus of “Rosh Hashanah is Coming” as an excellent use of repetition, making it much easier for young children to remember the name of the holiday.
2. New Year at the Pier, by April Halprin Wayland
This heartwarming book focuses more on the forgiveness part of the holiday. It is important to note that the book makes known how difficult apologies are, but how good one feels afterwards. This is such a valuable lesson for children to learn, as well as tying in to such a special day.
3. Sammy Spider’s First Rosh Hashanah, by Sylvia A. Rouss
This book is quite special to me, as many books read to me during Hebrew school were from the Sammy Spider series. The character Mother Spider explains all the traditions of Rosh Hashanah to her ever so curious son, Sammy. Sammy Spider manages to celebrate Rosh Hashanah in his own way.
L’Shana Tova (Transl. Happy New Year)
I hope that these stories find a place on a shelf in your home or Hebrew school, where you can read them to your children, and give them an amazing Jewish education, just like I had. May you be inscribed in the Book of Life.