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Teaching Kids About Rosh Hashana

Teaching elementary children about Rosh Hashana is sometimes a challenge.  Where do you start?  How do you make it simple enough so that it really means something to them?   This article includes a suggested approach in a semi-structured format that would be suitable for either a home setting or a children’s class in a congregational setting.

   Scripture:                  Luke 15:11-24

Theme:                       God created me with the ability to choose good or evil

Memory Verses:       

Deu 30:19b –  I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life.

Gal 6:7 – Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever someone plants, he will harvest the same thing.

Hebrew Words:         shofar—ram’s horn                 melech—King

  

Jewish Education for Rosh Hashana

Props: 

  • Get out a small ram’s horn shofar and let the kids take turns trying to blow it. 
  • Have sliced apples and a LITTLE bit of honey for them to taste

What is Rosh Hashana?   

  • “Rosh Hashana” means “head of the year” in English–a way of saying that it is the beginning of a new year
  • It is traditionally the birthday of the world (the anniversary of the creation of Adam)
  • It is a day to remember that God is King, and a King must be obeyed
  • It is a day to commit ourselves to another year of doing what is right

How do we celebrate Rosh Hashana? 

  • We blow the Shofar
  • We eat apples and honey to remind us that when we obey God, He brings good things into our lives
  • We throw bread crumbs in the water to symbolize throwing our sins away in repentance 

Why do we blow the Shofar? 

  • Because God said we were supposed to do that on Rosh Hashana
  • We are announcing that God is our king (a Shofar announced the crowning of a king in ancient times)
  • It is a warning to repent and stop sinning (a Shofar was used as an alarm in ancient times–sort of like a fire alarm!)

Scripture Study

Scripture:  Luke 15:11-24 (The Prodigal Son)

Theme:  When we make choices, there are always consequences, whether for good or evil.

Introduction:  When God created Adam, He created him with the ability to make choices.  Since Adam is our ancestor, that means that WE have the ability to make choices.  We are so used to making choices, we don’t always realize we are making them.  For example, did you have to stop and think the last time you got in the car, to decide whether to step in carefully or to jump in head first?  Probably not.  You already know that if you jump in head first, you will get hurt.  You don’t want to get hurt, so you step in carefully instead. 

Ask the children to go around the room and share some choices they made this morning.  Ask them what happened because they made those choices, and what would have happened if they had chosen differently.

The Story:  Read the story from Luke 15:11-24, from a Bible story book, or just tell the story.

Main point of the story:  Make sure the children get the point that the son faced bad consequences because of his bad choices.  When he chose to repent (a good choice), the consequences were good ones.  Repentance could not completely erase the inheritance he had lost through bad choices, but it did bring him a good future instead of a bad one.

Challenge:  At Rosh Hashana, it is a time to think about the choices that we make and what the consequences are.  The only choices that we can make that will bring the right things into our lives are choices that are in obedience to God as our Father and our King.  If we stay with the Father and obey Him, we will have good consequences.  If we decide to live our own way, the consequences will be bad.

1 comment

  1. Emma Daniel says:

    Thank you so much for this article. It looks like just what I have been looking for. Simple and straight forward. My children are 4 and under so this is pitched just right.

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