High Holidays Resources
Below find an annotated collection of Jewish educational resources about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. If you think something is missing, let us know.
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A Teshuva discussion guide on The Lookstein Center website explores the Jewish approach to repentance, drawing on Rambam’s Hilchot Teshuvah. Included are hands-on activities for younger and older students that deal with guilt and apology. By Moshe Goodman.
Children’s Literature, the website that critically reviews more than 4,000 children’s books annually, has a section on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The books reviewed are published by both Jewish and general publishing houses.
Moshe Goodman’s guide on The Lookstein Center’s website explores common feelings that are felt by children (and adults) during Yom Kippur davening in an open and non-judgmental way. Feelings include: boredom, confidence, guilt, happiness, nervousness, and sadness.
JECC has uploaded a sample of its updated early childhood curriculum, “Fingerprints: Discovering Jewish Life”. The sample has two comprehensive units (one on Rosh Hashana, and one on Birthdays) which include background information, texts, discussions on holiday values and themes, and detailed activities.
The Jewish Agency website includes classroom activities and discussion points for Rosh Hashanah. For elementary through high school.
The Jewish Agency website includes classroom activities and discussion points for Aseret Yemei Teshuva. For elementary through high school.
The Jewish Agency website includes classroom activities and discussion points for Yom Kippur. For elementary through high school.
The Association of Jewish Libraries has a listing of High Holiday favorites for children. Search for “Rosh Hashanah”, “Yom Kippur” or a holiday value/theme.
The Rosh Hashanah Penny Postcard curriculum provides a creative way to explore American Jewish history and Rosh Hashanah. Hosted on the website of the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington. Appropriate for middle School.
Outline of a Rosh Hashanah fair for elementary school students by Michal Marks. Each station contains an activity that relates to the rituals and prayers of the holiday. Hosted on the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation site.
The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation website hosts a listserv on Jewish education. This thread contains valuable suggestions for enhancing children’s services on the High Holidays.
Lookstein.org hosts “Sefer Yonah”, a lesson plan for high school students written by Moshe Abelesz that explores the argument between Yonah and God.
Noam Zion wrote a family Rosh Hashanah seder hosted on Lookstein.org that explores the Rosh Hashanah customs of Jews worldwide. The seder includes a set of modern Jewish texts that deal with critical self-reflection.
This lesson on Morim.org for elementary and middle school students looks at the concept of “heshbon haNefesh” (taking stock) that is associated with Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by reading a short story.
In this lesson plan for Rosh Hashana, hosted by Lookstein.org middle school students study classical texts independently.
These activities for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur for synagogues and schools are simple to implement. From the Communicate! newsletter by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (search Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur).
Lookstein.org hosts a powerpoint about Sefer Yonah that summarizes the story. Best viewed in Internet Explorer.
This Yom Kippur website provides step-by-step explanations and diagrams for both the daily and the Yom Kippur Avodah. The text and graphics are from the book “The Yom Kippur Avodah” by Menachem Moshe Oppen. The website is from 1997, so some links do not work, but it is valuable nonetheless.
The URJ website’s Rosh Hashanah page includes study guides, activity ideas and how-to resources.
Babaganewz has a guide for running a taschlich program in schools. Includes texts.
The Legacy Heritage Smartboard Database contains over sixty lessons for the high holidays. Search for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, teshuva, etc.
The English-Hebrew Dictionary includes five pages of Rosh Hashana vocabulary. Printable.
Arts and Crafts
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Life123 has a selection of simple art projects that can be completed by young children.
Akhlah, the Jewish Children’s Learning Network, has a page dedicated to a variety of Rosh Hashanah arts and crafts projects. Step-by-step instructions and illustrations.
The Holiday Spot has several activities for Rosh Hashanah plus easy-to-read information about the holiday for children.
Black and white coloring pages with Rosh Hashanahh scenes are available to download and print from the Shema Yisrael Torah Network.
Torah Tots provides a selection of coloring pages for young children.
Multimedia for the Classroom
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Elijah Rocks has educational games for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur and downloadable word games.
A collection of movie recommendations about teshuva/repentance are available from the Lookjed list.
A collection of videos about the Shofar – some more informative, some more entertaining – is available from Jewish Boston.
This is a short, punchy, intense, probing rap from Aish HaTorah with a message about how we use our time. The lyrics appear on-screen, making it easy to follow. Appropriate for grades 9-12.
A one minute, cute, animated film with a light touch from Aish HaTorah. It has a meaningful message about self-improvement that can be used year-round, but especially for Rosh Hashanah-Yom Kippur. Teachers can easily build follow-up activities. Appropriate for grades 6-12.
A cute, short film for the high holidays from Aish HaTorah. A great discussion starter. Grades 6-12.
This short film from Aish HaTorah addresses a heavy topic, “What does God want from us?”, but it is not a heavy film. Depending on the population, it can spark interesting discussion about prioritizing being a good person and being a good Jew. Grades 7-12.
This is a fast paced, in your face, short film for grades 10-12. It poses ultimate challenges to a post-modern generation. Be prepared for serious processing afterward. From Jewish Impact Films, hosted on YouTube.
Billy Ray Sheet’s satire about shule on Yom Kippur can be used by teachers as a springboard to address the questions their students may be asking. Grades 5-9. Hosted on YouTube.
G-dcast hosts a catchy, musical rendition of Akedat Yitzhak, the story of which is read on Rosh Hashanah, along with a teacher’s guide.
This “Jonah” song on G-dcast retells the story of Sefer Yonah. A three-lesson plan teacher’s guide is available.
Jewish Art Education hosts a video that describes the practices and traditions of the high holidays against a backdrop of Jewish art (paintings, prints, illuminated manuscripts, etc.).
Articles of interest
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Uriel Simon discusses Sefer Yonah in this article excerpted from the book The JPS Biblical Commentary: Jonah and is hosted on MyJewishLearning.
The Orthodox Union website includes basic and advanced articles, audio lectures and video lectures on Rosh Hashanah.
The Orthodox Union website includes basic and advanced articles on Yom Kippur. Some audio lectures as well.
A leader’s guide for leading Rosh Hashana prayers with young children and their families is hosted at the Behrman House website.
Stories and parables about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur on the Hasidic Stories website.
Tanach.org has a collection of articles by Rabbi Menachem Leibtag on themes of the high holidays.
Online Classical Texts
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Selichot (Minhag Chabad) are online at Chabad.org
Rambam Hilkhot Shofar are available on Mechon Mamre.
Rambam Hilkhot Teshuva are available on Mechon Mamre.
Excerpts of the Rosh Hashanah Mussaf prayer in English and Hebrew from NetGimpse.
Updated: September 2012