Shanah Tovah! Celebrating the Jewish festival of Rosh Hashanah.
Two weeks ago in Rebecca Cheetham Nursery we celebrated the Jewish festival of the New Year called Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah means “head of the year” or “first of the year." The festival falls during September or October. In today's blog, Magdalena, our teacher in Jeffers Room talks us through Rosh Hashanah and what we did to celebrate it in the nursery.
When is Rosh Hashanah?
This year Rosh Hashanah began on Friday 18th September and ended on the evening of Sunday 20 th September. The exact date of Rosh Hashanah varies every year, since it is based on the Hebrew Calendar, where it begins on the first day of the seventh month.
Customs and Symbols of Rosh Hashanah
Apples and honey: The custom involves eating apple slices dipped in honey, sometimes after saying a special prayer. Ancient Jews believed apples had healing properties, and the honey signifies the hope that the New Year will be sweet. Rosh Hashanah meals usually include an assortment of sweet treats for the same reason.
Round challah: On Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath) and other holidays, Jewish people eat loaves of the traditional braided bread known as challah. On Rosh Hashanah, the challah is often baked in a round shape to symbolize either the cyclical nature of life or the crown of God. Raisins are sometimes added to the dough for a sweet new year.
Tashlich: On Rosh Hashanah, some Jewish people practice a custom known as tashlich (“casting off”), in which they throw pieces of bread into a flowing body of water while reciting prayers. As the bread, which symbolize the sins of the past year, is swept away, those who embrace this tradition are spiritually cleansed and renewed.
“L’shana tovah”: Jews greet each other on Rosh Hashanah with the Hebrew phrase “L’shana tovah,” which translates to “for a good year.”
Throughout the whole week, children in the nursery had access to a variety of activities related to Rosh Hashana festival. First we baked challah, where children could see the ingredients, mix them together, then see an amazing outcome of their work when the bread was ready. Of course the tasting, was the most exciting part of the activity. Children decorated cards wishing Happy New Year to their Jewish friends in Hebrew. Children listened to variety of songs in Hebrew related to the festival. Their favourite one was Dip Your Apple - Fountainheads Rosh Hashanah https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlcxEDy-lr0. Children enjoyed dipping their apples in honey then eating them, as well as making the traditional Rosh Hashanah musical horn called Shofar.