Whether you're Jewish, half Jewish, or just trying to figure out why your kids have a random day off school, you may want some suggestions for celebrating the Jewish New Year next week. Most LA area schools have a day off for Rosh Hashanah and/or Yom Kippur the following week (known, apparently, in biblical times as "Admissions Day"). We have some suggestions for family activities to ring in the year 5777; or, if the High Holidays are throwing a wrench in your week, we can suggest some camps that have your back on school holidays.
Rosh Hashanah Festival
October 2, 2016
Whenever you're looking for kid-friendly activities around a Jewish holiday, the Zimmer Museum is a good place to start. The children's museum's annual celebration offers crafts and stories perfect for the under 8 set.
Venice Beach Taschlich
October 3, 2016
Families greet the new year at the beach, casting a year's worth of burdens and missteps into the sea in the form of old bread. Seagulls promptly take on the burdens. A drum circle and picnic on the beach follow.
Sholem Community's Rosh Hashanah In The Park
October 3, 2016
Sholem, West LA's secular Jewish community, hosts a family celebration with readings and songs, exploring ancient beliefs about the need for self-reflection and communal re-assessment. Observances draw from Jewish history, folk traditions, contemporary readings, and social justice themes. Families are invited to bring a picnic for themselves and dessert to share.
Rosh Hashanah Celebration
October 4, 2016
Pretend City honors the holiday and explores some of the meaning and traditions, in a way little ones can enjoy.
Visions and Values
With some kids getting a day off for fun while others are spending the day in synagogue, it can be a good time to look at the big picture of what it is to be Jewish in the Diaspora. The Skirball Cultural Center's core exhibition, Visions and Values: Jewish Life from Antiquity to America, explores how Jews have learned from and contributed to the many cultures they have encountered over the millennia. The exhibition is ongoing; guided tours are offered most Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 2pm.
If you'd like to mark the passing of another year with an activity more loosely connected with the holiday, why not try apple picking? Apples and honey are traditional symbols of the Jewish New Year, meant to bestow sweetness for the coming year; an apple picking outing could be the perfect use of the day off.
Pick one of these activities, or just head down to the beach late afternoon, find a group of people dressed in white throwing bread to the sea, and wish them a Happy New Year. Just think how happy you'd make your mother.
Happy New Year!
Originally published September 10, 2012