Books and activities for Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year is one of the biggest holidays in the Jewish calendar so of course we like to read books to help us celebrate and understand the meaning of the holiday. Here are some of the books we’ve been reading as well as some fun activities to try.

Engineer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride by Deborah Bodin Cohen, illustrated by Shahar Kober and published by Kar-Ben Publishing.

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Set during the first train journey between Jaffa and Jerusalem in 1892 this story follows Ari, the engineer chosen to drive this historic journey. Full of his own self importance he upsets his friends before setting off. During his journey he collects apples, honey, challah and shofarot and soon starts to feel bad about the way he treated his friends.

Remembering that at Rosh Hashanah we look back at our actions and make teshuvah – ask for forgiveness, Ari heads home to make peace with his friends.

Perfect for introducing the concept of teshuvah and the impact your actions can have on others to young children.

Buy the book from Wordery.

Rosh Hashanah craft activity – new year cards with apple and honey prints

Apples and honey are symbolic of Rosh Hashanah as we eat them together and wish for a sweet new year. We made some Rosh Hashanah cards with apple and honey prints in this really simple painting activity.

We painted halved apples and pieces of bubblewrap.

Next we printed them on to paper and did yellow thumb prints for the bees. Once the paint was dry we added detail with a black pen.

 

Finally, we cut out our pictures and stuck them on to cards to give to family.

What’s The Buzz? Honey for a Sweet New Year by Allison Ofanansky, photography by Eliyahu Alpern and published by Kar-Ben Publishing.

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Honey is an important food at this time of year as it symbolises our wishes for a sweet new year. This book follows a group of children in Israel on their trip to a honey farm. Illustrated with real photographs from their trip it is a great way to see how honey is made. We were fascinated by the photo of the bees in their hive.

At the end of the trip the girl narrating the journey visits the shop to buy some treats for her classmate who is sick and couldn’t make the trip. We then see her visiting her and sharing apples dipped in the honey she bought to wish each other a sweet new year. A lovely touch and great for little ones to see examples of other children performing mitzvot.

Buy the book from Wordery.

Rosh Hashanah activity – baking teigelach 

Teigelach are a type of cookie baked in a honey syrup. They are incredibly sweet which make them a perfect food for Rosh Hashanah. You can read about how we made these delicious sticky treats here.

 

Hugless Douglas and the Great Cake Bake by David Melling and published by Hodder Children’s Books.

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This book isn’t actually about Rosh Hashanah but the cakes in question that Hugless Douglas and his herd of sheep friends bake are honey cakes!

Hugless Douglas wakes one day to find his honey cupboard is bare. Following a sticky trail he finds the sheep who are using the honey to make honey cakes.

Readers familiar with Hugless Douglas can imagine the sort of mess and chaos that occurs as these cakes are being baked and the illustrations are full of funny mishaps.

Rosh Hashanah activity – baking honey cakes

At the end of the Hugless Douglas book there is a recipe for honey cakes, perfect for Rosh Hashanah! It’s a brilliant recipe for children as it’s one where all the ingredients go in together. The end result is pretty yummy too.

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We decided to decorate ours with apple crisps. We made these by very thinly slicing an apple and laying the slices out on greaseproof paper before drizzling very generously with honey. Next we popped them on a baking tray and into the oven at 110 degrees until they had dried out, this took about an hour or so.

Buy the book from Wordery.

Shanah Tova, a sweet new year to those of you celebrating!

We received Engineer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride and What’s the Buzz from  PJ Library, an organisation that sends books about Judaism to families for free.

 

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