I’ll start this post with a little disclaimer. I am Jewish. Culturally Jewish, at least. I don’t go to temple very often, but I always feel a sense of family and camaraderie when I am with members of my tribe. When I was a child, I used to attend Sunday school, and then when I got older, I went to Monday night school leading up to my confirmation. I went on an amazing 6-week long trip to Israel when I was 16, and to this day, I still cherish those memories. When college came along, life happened and I rarely went to temple. I married a man who isn’t Jewish, and we didn’t make religion a priority in our lives. One thing remained constant, though – my love of spending Jewish Holidays with friends and family…and celebrating those holidays with special meals. Our children attended preschool at our local Jewish Community Center, and I taught cooking classes to students there for several years. In the Jewish culture, food is important. It’s our way of showing others how much we love them. In this way, I remain Jewish to the core.
The High Holidays, sometimes called High Holy Days, are approaching in early October. They include Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, two of the most important holidays in the Jewish culture. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, and is observed for two days. We mark this holiday with festive meals and prayers. Apples and honey are often eaten during this holiday because they represent hopes for a sweet new year. Of course, we love apples and honey all year round…but I digress. Yom Kippur is also known as the Day of Atonement and typically includes a day of fasting, in which Jews repent for their sins from the prior year. When the day of fasting has ended, we enjoy a celebratory feast together.
Maybe as a way of reconnecting with my roots, I put together a Cook and Learn activity bundle for the High Holidays. It includes a delicious recipe for Honey Cake, along with visual instructions to help pre-readers, along with some language arts puzzles, and even a community service (mitzvah) project. It’s perfect for families with children ages 4-7 who want to celebrate their Jewish culture as well as families, teachers and homeschoolers who want to learn about different cultures.
Does your family celebrate it’s cultural heritage with food too? I’d love to hear about some of your holiday food traditions in the comments below!
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