Years ago, I created an at-home Rosh HashanahThe Jewish New Year, also considered the Day of Judgment. The period of the High Holidays is a time of introspection and atonement. The holiday is celebrated with the sounding of the shofar, lengthy prayers in synagogue, the eating of apples and honey, and round challah for a sweet and whole year. Tashlikh, casting bread on the water to symbolize the washing away of sins, also takes place on Rosh Hashana. guide/playbook to add more meaning to the holiday. Even though I attend services, these readings really blew up my Rosh Hashanah celebration and made it, well… kick-ass. So, I named the tradition Kick-Ass Rosh Hashanah (KARH for short), and I’m thrilled to share it with you. Enjoy!
Here are the seven key components to prepare:
Review the Service
Take some time to review the KARH materials, and think about how they will work best at your house – especially the part about TashlichCasting bread upon the water. On Rosh Hashana, Jews traditionally walk to a natural body of water into which they throw breadcrumbs, symbolic of their sins from the previous year. (p. 7), the symbolic ritual of throwing one’s sins into running water. Ideally, this would be a river, but it’s perfectly OK to use your kitchen sink, and it’s a especially meaningful part of the day. You’ll see that there are various readings in the service, and you may want to assign these in advance, as well as have a game plan for who will lead the responsive readings. You can also decide to cut some of the readings or add your own. Remember – it’s your family and friends and your celebration!
Send the Homework in Advance
Trust me, the homework is often the most personal and thought-provoking part of the celebration for guests, even though some of them may be a little hesitant at first. Don’t skip it; just email the assignment to your guests two weeks before Rosh Hashanah, and explain that you are adding something new to this year’s celebration. Then, send it again three days before Rosh Hashanah to anyone who needs a gentle reminder. Tell them in the nicest of ways to bring their homework with them. Some people will forget anyway or will simply choose not to do it; don’t take it personally.
Make Kick-Ass Copies
Provide printed copies of the KARH to every guest, just as you would with the HaggadahLit. "Telling.” The haggadah is the book used at the seder table on Passover to tell the story of the Exodus, the central commandment of the holiday. It is rich in song, prayer, and legend. There are many different version of the Haggadah produced throughout Jewish history. on PassoverPassover is a major Jewish holiday that commemorates the Jewish people's liberation from slavery and Exodus from Egypt. Its Hebrew name is Pesakh. Its name derives from the tenth plague, in which God "passed over" the homes of the Jewish firstborn, slaying only the Egyptian firstborn. Passover is celebrated for a week, and many diaspora Jews celebrate for eight days. The holiday begins at home at a seder meal and ritual the first (and sometimes second) night. Jews tell the story of the Exodus using a text called the haggadah, and eat specific food (matzah, maror, haroset, etc).. Also make a few copies of the homework assignment for those guests who have skipped the homework assignment (see Step 2).
Feed Your Hungry Guests
People who attend synagogue services are not always in control of when they getA writ of divorce. Traditionally, only a man can grant his wife a get. Liberal Jews have amended this tradition, making divorce more egalitarian. to your house, so they may be late, and some of your guests will show up very hungry. Put out lots of snacks, appetizers and drinks – a perfect occasion for an appletini – so people will not be ravenous and crabby. The plan that works best at my house is: 1. Have appetizers and drinks ready as soon as people get there. 2. Gather everyone together to do KARH. 3. Eat your meal.
Sit for KARH
In my home, we have done the KARH on the porch, in the living room and around the dining room table. All of them work great. Just try to find a space where everyone can sit and see and hear one another. And make sure everyone has a chair.
Be a Kick-Ass Leader
Don’t be freaked out if people don’t dive right in when you start the KARH. But set an inviting tone, and stick with it. I promise that your guests will enjoy it tremendously.
Participation is Key!
Most people love to share. Some of them have been sitting in synagogue being talked at all morning. The KARH is made to be read out loud by each of the participants. Make sure you take turns and have everyone, at the beginning especially, read one paragraph each, just like the Passover SederLit. Order. The festive meal conducted on Passover night, in a specific order with specific rituals to symbolize aspects of the Exodus from Egypt. It is conducted following the haggadah, a book for this purpose. The mystics of Sefat also created a seder for Tu B'shvat, the new year of the trees..