You’ve cleaned the house, prepared the food, bought a new outfit for the holiday. Synagogue or temple services and a delicious meal (maybe…chicken?) are just around the corner.
Meanwhile, here are some ideas to help make getting ready for Rosh Hashanah a real celebration, and fun!
1. Before Rosh Hashanah begins, write a list of all the holiday-related words you can think of. Here are a few to get you started:
After Rosh Hashanah dinner, play word games using all these terms. For example, see who will be the first in your family to think up a different song or book title using each of the words. It’s not as easy as it may at first seem, and it’s best to be flexible (for example, let “knew” pass for “new” and “be” for “bee,” and allow for classical or jazz compositions, not just songs.) Can’t think of any? How about:
“Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree,” “Appalachian Spring,” “Be My Baby.”
Or ask guests to make up one sentence that incorporates all the words (“Honey, you are the apple of my eye at the new year and always…”) Or see how many rhyming words you can match to each word on your list.
2. You can make your own flavored honey for a sweet treat at the Rosh Hashanah table.* All you have to do is mix in a bit of each ingredient of your choice (amounts vary according to taste) with your regular honey. Here are a few ideas:
3. Before guests arrive, fill a large basket with questions and place at the center of the table. After the meal, each person selects a question at random. He then answers the question, which also can become a great forum for discussion. Questions should be upbeat, but introspective. For example:
“What great things happened to you this past year?”
“Tell us about an unforgettable Rosh Hashanah that you experienced.”
“Which of God’s miracles leaves you most amazed or grateful?”
4. Make a family time capsule to be opened next Rosh Hashanah. Several days before the holiday begins, ask everyone in the family to bring something special to him or her (perhaps a drawing or photograph—something important, but which you can live without for a year), along with a brief written description of the treasure. You also might want to make a form and have each family member fill it out. Some ideas for questions:
What would you like to see happen for yourself in the coming year?
What would you like to see happen for your family in the coming year?
What would you like to see happen for the world in the coming year?
Tell about one thing you think will be very different in the world one year from now.
Where do you expect to be next year at this same time?
Put all the items in a family time capsule (perhaps an airtight jar) and bury it in the backyard. Next year at Rosh Hashanah, open the jar for a great read!
* Remember, never give honey to a child under the age of one. It can cause infant botulism, a rare but serious disease affecting the central nervous system.