Celebrate the High Holy Days with art
Rosh Hashanah celebrates the beginning of the Jewish new year, often with symbolic foods, family and friends, the sounding of the shofar (a ram’s horn that is blown throughout the holiday) and special prayers, while Yom Kippur is more solemnly known as the Day of Atonement.
There are 10 days between the start of Rosh Hashanah and the end of Yom Kippur, which is for reflection and introspection. It’s a time to wish one another a sweet new year ahead and make amends (both by forgiving and asking forgiveness for any mistakes made the year prior.
For many families, the holidays are about passing along Jewish culture and traditions—especially the importance of mishpucha (family) and tikkun olam (repairing the world)—in ways that kids (and adults) understand and enjoy.
Enjoy creating a few of these fun and meaningful activity ideas, which can help teach kids the significance of these special Jewish holidays.
Even if your family doesn’t observe Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur, you’ll find that many of these ideas can be used to bring in the Fall season. They can help us connect and reflect with our children as the school year begins as well as providing creative fun self-care. Some of these activities can even help spread some much-needed love in our communities.
Rosh Hashanah is a perfect time to slow down and get crafty with kids, while thinking back on the year and contemplating the one ahead.
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, together known as the High Holy Days, are two of the biggest holidays on the Jewish calendar. These crafts for kids can be used as home decoration to make the home and seder table feel more ceremonious during the most special time of the year, as well as creating keepsakes to cherish always.
Yom Kippur is a great time to think about ways to show kindness to the people we care about. Here are a few craft ideas to inspire and help encourage the process!
A fun and easy project to start off with, which is great for all ages, is to create kindness rocks and can be found in nature. Kind affirmations/words or images of the Seder items might be paint pens or paint.
Next, a tzedakah box, or a charity box, is the perfect easy and fun Yom Kippur craft. You can use it to discuss the importance of charity with your child, and by giving to others, we show that our priorities are in the right place. To make your own tzedakah box you will need a shoe box and scissors to cut a small opening on the lid. The box can then be decorated with stickers, markers, & any other crafty items your child likes.
Another great activity, and a lasting high holiday keepsake, is to create a crafty creative family tree. After you draw, color or paint a tree, your child & each family member will dip their thumbs or fingers into red, yellow and green paints to represent different kinds of apples, and dab away until your tree is full of fruit on the branches. You can add family members’ names to the branches to make the tree even more personal, or paint or draw larger apples to represent individual family members.
Creating an apple and honey dish is a great idea for the Seder table or it can be used for fall treats for the family. Enamel paints would be used for this on a plate which you can paint on. Enamel paints have instructions on how long to bake the plate before using it.
Handmade cards are another great creative activity to do on the High Holy Days, not to mention a fun and meaningful way for families to get creative together. For example, this is a great way to introduce kids to the concept of forgiveness by writing and decorating forgiveness letters.
Yom Kippur is the time of the year when people ask for forgiveness and make amends. This is why a good way for kids to commemorate the holiday without being too overwhelmed with historical facts is to ask them to write an “I’m Sorry” letter to someone close.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to crafting handmade cards. Along with a blank card or paper, the same materials used for the tzedakah box can be used for this.
One final example that can be fun to do as a family (for healthy bonding and wellness time) is each person paints their own symbolic artwork of what the holiday means to them, or to simply have mindful painting time to uplifting traditional music or while sitting in nature and reflecting, as well as enjoying the high holiday fall season.
Shana tova, and wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and creative new year.
DIANA SHABTAI “MISSDEE, PSY.D., ATR-BC IS A BOARD CERTIFIED ART THERAPIST WHO OBTAINED A MASTERS DEGREE IN CLINICAL ART THERAPY, MA IN MARRIAGE & FAMILY THERAPY & A DOCTORATE DEGREE IN MFT. SHE IS PASSIONATE ADVOCATE FOR BRINGING AWARENESS TO THE THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS OF ART. EXPERIENCE STUDYING, WORKING, & EDUCATING IN THE FIELD OF PSYCHOLOGY & THE THERAPEUTIC ARTS FOR NEARLY 20 YEARS, AND HER ART STUDIO IN NEWPORT BEACH -ART THERAPY OC SHE IS A CONTRIBUTING WRITER TO JLIFE MAGAZINE.