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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The education department of the National Library of Israel has chosen primary sources from the NLI collection and developed a variety of teaching resources pertaining to the High Holiday season. The activities promote 21st century skills including critical thinking, information literacy and creativity. Many of the lesson plans and worksheets incorporate primary sources with classical Jewish texts. See a list here.
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.
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 Yom Kippur and the Aseret Yemei Teshuva. 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.
Rosh Hashanah activities for families and educators. Hosted on the Reform Judaism website.
The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation website hosts discussions containing 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.
In this lesson plan for Rosh Hashana, hosted by Lookstein.org middle school students study classical texts independently.
Lookstein.org hosts a powerpoint about Sefer Yonah that summarizes the story. Best viewed in Internet Explorer.
The URJ website’s Rosh Hashanah page includes study guides, activity ideas and how-to resources.
An additional archive of resources is available here.
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.
PJ Library’s Everything You Need to Teach Your Kids About Rosh Hashanah contains general information, videos, recipes, arts and crafts projects, book recommendations and more.
Jewish Interactive’s Complete Toolkit for Rosh Hashanah contains innovative and engaging resources for teaching children about Rosh Hashanah. The toolkit includes: How to use tech resources to teach about Rosh Hashanah- An overview of Rosh Hashanah and different customs we observe over this festival- The best educational games to teach Rosh Hashanah to kids- How to create your own material to make this festival meaningful- J-STEAM resources for Rosh Hashanah
Arts and Crafts
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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 Hashanah 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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Rosh Hashannah videos for kids from Chabad.org
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.
Shalom Sesame hosts several videos explaining the High Holidays.
Bim Bam hosts several videos about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
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.
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Machzor texts can be found on Sefaria. Rosh Hashahan Ashkenazi Machzor here and Sefardic Machzor here. Yom Kippur Ashekanzi machzor here and yom Kippur Sefardic Machzor here.
Updated: September 2019