Shana Tova! The new Jewish year (5777, for those counting) is almost upon us! Perhaps you are super organized and you've had your High Holidays plans in place since... 5776. Great job! Or, perhaps you're a frazzled, busy parent and you need some last minute tips regarding where to go, what to do and how to celebrate. Don't worry! We've got you covered...
First Things First
What are the High Holidays? This article is a great primer. In fact, here is a glossary of holiday vocab.
What foods do we eat on Rosh Hashanah? Here is a list of recipes.
What is Tashlikh, anyway? It's this.
What's a shofar, exactly? Right here.
What happens at Kol Nidre? This happens. (Want chills? Listen to Itzhak Perlman's version.)
On that note, why do we fast on Yom Kippur? Because, this. Do kids fast? No.
(With gratitude to MyJewishLearning)
Want to attend services but aren't sure where to go? Here are some ideas. (Obviously Brooklyn has a wealth of services options for Jews of all backgrounds, and we aren't able to list everything. Here is a small sampling of options with which we are personally familiar.)
First, the alternative options....
Our friends at Because, Jewish have a spectacular lineup in store for the High Holidays: bluesy Rosh Hashanah at Brooklyn Bowl (aka "Bowl Hashanah"), Kol Nidre at Roulette Intermedium, and meditative Yom Kippur at ShapeShifter Lab. Childcare and kids programming on Rosh Hashanah. All Because, Jewish HH services can be found here.
Another great Brooklyn option is popular independent, egalitarian minyan AltShul, and they are hosting Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services in the Congregation Beth Elohim (CBE) space this year. (AltShul services are at a different time than CBE services.) Here is the link for more information.
For those who venture (gasp!) outside of Brooklyn, LabShul is an "everybody friendly, God-optional, artist driven Jewish community" with great, inclusive HH programming. Here is the link for more information.
And now the synagogues....
Brooklyn is home to many historic & wonderful synagogue communities who (of course) all offer High Holidays programming in a variety of flavors. You don't need to be a member to attend, although if you're thinking of joining a temple, HH services are a great place to start.
Congregation Beth Elohim (CBE) is a large, well-established (and well-loved by locals) synagogue in Park Slope, with tons of programming and an impressive facility. Their HH services- including a variety of kid-friendly programming- page is here.
Kolot Chaiaynu is a socially diverse, progressive congregation in Park Slope; their HH services page is here.
In Cobble Hill, Kane Street Synagogue is community of "very traditional Jews and secularists, families and singles, straight and gay" - in other words sounds like Brooklyn! Their HH services page is here.
Great High-Holiday Themed Children's Books
Family Friendly High Holidays Parties
Maybe services aren't your thing. (Or maybe services are your thing, and you also like to party. With your kids.) We get it. Here are some fun family party options to consider.
Our friends at Kings Bay Y are hosting two separate Rosh Hashanah parties in two locations over the next couple of weekends. Both community events will feature singing, dancing, crafting, face painting, and more! All are welcome.
September 25 at Trilok Fusion Center for the Arts (Clinon Hill), hosted by Kings Bay Y Clinton Hill. Details are here.
October 2 at Kings Bay Y North Williamsburg. Details are here.
Fig Tree will host craft tables at both events. Stop by!
Chabad is... Chabad, but you can always count on them to be friendly, welcoming and passionate about sharing Jewish tradition. Chabad North Brooklyn is hosting a "Rosh Hashana Kids Adventure" on Rosh Hashanah morning- a great free alternative to services for those with very young children. Info can be found here.
Make your own shofar! This is a fun, easy craft that works for all ages.
Printed paper shofar template, which you can download here. We recommend you print it on card stock or "resume paper" [do people even still print resumes?? we digress...]
Glue (optional- tape is sufficient)
Optional: stick-on jewels, sequins, stickers, etc for decorating
1. Cut the shofar design according to the template.
2. Roll the blowing end of the "horn" and tape it into a funnel.
3. Match the larger ends of the horn together, and glue or tape those.
4. Decorate the shofar! Write the words Shana Tova in English or Hebrew (or both).
Once your kids' shofars are complete, practice the four kinds of shofar blasts. Here is a somewhat quirky video describing the different blasts, and here is another video that shows many different shofars.