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Holiday Guide

The Jewish High Holy Day season is upon us. The season begins with Rosh Hashanah and ends with Simchat Torah. Within a period of a month, Jewish communities around the world celebrate five holidays, each with its own meaning and customs.

Rosh Hashanah begins on Friday, September 18, 2020 at sundown and ends at sundown on Sunday, September 20, 2020.

Rosh Hashanah is Hebrew for “head of the year” and is the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah begins the ten day period known as the Yamim Noraim, the days of awe. During this period, we reflect on ways that we have missed the mark over the past year. The shofar, ram’s horn is sounded as a wakeup call and reminder to return to our best selves. It is customary to eat apples dipped in honey for a sweet new year.

Use this resource guide to find meaningful content and opportunities for reflection.


Learn the basics and gain confidence about Jewish holidays and traditions through short and engaging videos.

Do You 10Q?: Reflect. React. Renew.

An online journal site that provides a free service to answer life’s biggest questions.

JewBelong: For When You Feel You Don’t

Find relatable and humorous content for all things Jewish! Did you know that there is a custom of doing a seder for Rosh Hashanah?! JewBelong includes a free and downloadable haggadah that can be used to usher in the New Year.

My Jewish Learning

Read about the holiday’s history and ways to celebrate at home.

PJ Library

A one-stop site for families with young children. Find recipes, songs, and books to share with children in preparation for and over the New Year.

The Rosh Hashanah Seder

On Erev Rosh Hashanah (the evening when the holiday begins), it is customary to do a Seder before enjoying the meal. The Rosh Hashanah Seder is a brief and tasty experience. Here are some resources for your family to create a Rosh Hashanah Seder this year:

Get in the spirit for the New Year with these catchy tunes:

Questions to think about:

  • We eat sweet foods on the New Year to remind us to have a good and sweet year. What will you do to bring sweetness into our world this year?
  • On the second day of Rosh Hashanah it is customary to eat a new fruit. What is a new fruit that you want to try in the New Year?
  • On Rosh Hashanah we eat round challah. The round challah reminds us that the opportunity to do teshuva, to return to our best selves is never ending. What is one thing we want to do to be our best self in the New Year?
  • Did you know that in ancient times, people would write their wishes for the New Year on the skins of an apple? What is one wish you have for the New Year?

DIY Honey Bowl (Recipe by Martha Stewart): 

Trim the top and bottom of an apple and hollow it out with a spoon or melon baller. (McIntoshes are easy to scoop.) Brush the inside with lemon juice, and fill with honey. Slice more apples for dipping.

Rosh Hashanah this year will be very different for those who have the custom to gather with family and friends, or in-person with a synagogue community. Here is a resource from Chabad about celebrating Rosh Hashanah at home this year: 

For additional resources, contact Jennifer Selco, Director of Jewish Life & Learning at the Tucson J at or 520-299-3000 x106.


Wishing you and your family a Shanah Tovah U’Metukah, a Good and Sweet New Year!

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