This week Primary School classes have been exploring themes, names, rituals and customs associated with Rosh HaShanah.
In learning about the shofar we have explored the connection between שופר and the word לשפר – which means ‘to improve’. Making this connection, we reflected on how the shofar serves as a call for us to improve ourselves, our relationships and our world.
We also learnt the word שנה has connections to the words משנה – meaning ‘repeat’ and שינוי – meaning ‘change’. Reflecting on these meanings we discussed how this time of year is one that promotes positive change and growth in our lives. With the traditional greeting of
שנה טובה ומתוקה – we are wishing that person a good and sweet year ahead, but also wishing them changes that will bring goodness and sweetness in their lives and our world.
Here are two Rosh HaShanah traditions that can add meaning and memorable experiences for you and your family:
Rosh HaShanah Seder:
This beautiful Sephardi tradition involves symbolic foods and reflections on what they represent.
and recently appeared in an article in the AJN.
There are wonderful resources online to guide you and your family in a Rosh HaShanah seder, such as this PDF version: English Haggadah
Tashlich: The Symbolic casting away of the mistakes of the past
This beautiful tradition involves going to a body of water and throwing bread (or something more natural like a small pebble) into the water. This action symbolically represents us casting away our bad habits, misdeeds and missteps of the previous year. You can read more about Tashlich here:Tashlich
This website provides some background and different approaches to this tradition.
As Rosh HaShanah also celebrates הַיּוֹם הֲרַת עוֹלָם – The Day The World Came into Being’ – there is a creative initiative called ‘Reverse Tashlich’ which aims to collect rubbish in our oceans and waterways.
Wishing you and your family a safe, meaningful and sweet new year.
שנה טובה ומתוקה