Jewish Activity Guide for Autumn
Find fun activity ideas for your Jewish residents for the upcoming Jewish holidays, including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Chanukah.
Fall Jewish holidays:
|Rosh Hashanah||Monday, September 10 (begins sundown Sept. 9) - Tuesday, September 11||The Jewish New Year|
|Yom Kippur||Wednesday, September 19 (begins sundown Sept. 18)||The Day of Atonement|
|Sukkot||Monday, September 24 (begins sundown Sept. 23) - Sunday, September 30||The Feast of Tabernacles|
|Sh'mini Atzeret||Monday, October 1 (begins sundown Sept. 30)
||Eighth Day of Assembly|
|Simchat Torah||Tuesday, October 2 (begins sundown Oct. 1)||Day of Celebrating the Torah|
|Chanukah||Monday, December 3 (begins sundown Dec. 2) - Monday, December 10||Festival of Lights|
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. Customs of Rosh Hashanah include the lighting of candles, the sounding of a Shofar (ram's horn), and the eating of sweet treats like apples and honey. This year Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Sunday, September 9 and lasts until sundown on Tuesday, September 11.
- Go apple picking.
- Create New Year's Cards that residents can share with families.
- Contact your local synagogue & have them come in to blow a Shofar (ram's horn).
- Live-stream Rosh Hashanah services from a synagogue.
Yom Kippur is one of the holiest days of the Jewish year. Known as the "Day of Atonement," the customs of Yom Kippur include fasting and prayer. This year Yom Kippur begins at sundown on Tuesday, September 18 and lasts until sundown on Wednesday, September 19.
- Just like at Rosh Hashanah, you can live-stream services for residents.
- Prior to Yom Kippur, help residents make a "Memory Book" full of old photos and other memories. On Yom Kippur, residents can share some of their memories with each other.
- Read residents the story of Jonah and the Whale, which is traditionally read on Yom Kippur.
Sukkot, also referred to as the "Feast of Tabernacles," is an eight-day holiday in which observers eat their meals during the week in a sukkah, to represent the huts in which the Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of wandering in the desert after escaping from slavery in Egypt. This year Sukkot begins at sundown on Sunday, September 23 and lasts until sundown on Sunday, September 30.
- Build a miniature Sukkah using graham crackers and icing.
- Contact your local synagogue and ask them to come in with a Lulav and Etrog for your residents to see, smell, and say a blessing over.
Sh'mini Atzeret & Simchat Torah
Immediately following Sukkot are two more observances: Sh'mini Atzeret ("Assembly of the Eighth Day") and Simchat Torah ("Rejoicing in the Torah"). Customs of these observances include singing and dancing with the Torah. This year Sh'mini Atzeret begins at sundown on Sunday, September 30 and lasts until sundown on Monday, October 1. Simchat Torah begins at sundown on Monday, October 1 and lasts until sundown on Tuesday, October 2.
- Use paper and wooden skewers to make mini Torah scrolls.
- Make flags that residents can parade around with them. S&S Worldwide has a great flag kit that you can use.
Chanukah (also spelled Hanukkah) is the Festival of Lights that is an eight-day celebration to commemorate the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Customs of Chanukah include the lighting of the menorah, preparing foods in oil like latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts), singing blessings, and playing games. This year Chanukah begins at sundown on Sunday, December 2 and lasts until sundown on Monday, December 10.
- Make latkes (potato pancakes) or sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts).
- Play the Dreidel game (spinning top game) with the grandkids.
- Make Chanukah cards to send to family members.
- Sing blessings with residents.