Friday, October 3, 2014

Yom Kippur Resources For Kids

Yom Kippur has values we can teach ALL children!

I remember the first, and ONLY, Yom Kippur service I ever attended. I had just begun dating my future husband and was still posturing for his mother, so I sat on one side of the temple with her while he sat with the other men. I remember the rabbi, in all of his vestments, repeatedly bowing (is that called berakhot?), literally reciting the phrase “we are nothing, we are guilty, we are bad” over and over. Now, I don't mind self-reflection and repentance (I'm Catholic, after all, and that's no walk in the park, either) but I felt somewhat suicidal after that service and vowed NEVER to go back again.

Now I'm 20+ years into marriage, we're raising our children Unitarian, and acknowledge their father's Jewish traditions. So how does one explain the concept of Yom Kippur to kids? Here are some resources for kids that won't scare or make them feel as awful as I did after that fateful service:

  • If your kids need a quickie explanation of the holiday, click here. I love the fact that this page states that the Yom Kippur is “all about each individual Jewish person’s behavior” and our choices in taking a “good” or “bad” path.

  • I actually learned something from this) site which lists a few prayers and, again, explains what Yom Kippur is about. Did you know that “on Yom Kippur we do not wear leather shoes, so put on your canvas or plastic sneakers or sandals.” I didn't! There's also a cool link which shows how a shofar is made. 

  • Parents can visit this site for guidance on how to explain the holidays to their children. One phrase that caught my eye: “everybody makes mistakes, from the very young to the very old.” Yes! 
    Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur can have meaning for us all.

And you'll find some wonderful Yom Kippur crafts and more on these sites:

  • How-To's for funky paper slippers and more are what you'll find here. I may have my husband make those with Lily tomorrow.

  • Videos, crafts, coloring pages galore are one click away at this site.  It's supposed to rain tomorrow, so I have a hunch that Lily will be watching some of these videos.

  • You want fun? Here it is!  Online games, crafts, greeting cards guarantee learning and enjoyment.

Yom Kippur seems to be about self-reflection and doing better next year, positive things that we can all benefit from. Teaching children to think about their actions and the repercussions is something that we, as parents, need to do to help our children become considerate and responsible adults. Even though my experience at my first Yom Kippur service was horrible, Jewish or not, I think Yom Kippur has meaning for us all.                                                                           
And if you celebrate Yom Kippur, I wish you an easy fast! 

Thank you for reading! 

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