Rachel Jury, Director of Jewish Studies
The halls of Bernard Zell were alive with the sounds, scents, and tastes of Rosh Hashanah last week as students and staff eagerly prepared to usher in the Jewish New Year. The resonant blasts of the shofar reverberated throughout the school, filling the atmosphere with a sense of anticipation. The unmistakable aroma of honey cake and challah wafted through the building, creating a warm and inviting ambiance leading up to Rosh Hashanah.
Tastes of Rosh Hashanah
Our dedicated middle school student holiday committee, consisting of 5th and 6th graders, orchestrated a Rosh Hashanah juice tasting featuring foods symbolic of this special holiday. One of the juices included beets, chosen for their significance in warding off our enemies during Rosh Hashanah. Second graders baked honey cakes, while fourth graders crafted sweet challah to ensure a sweet start to the New Year. Our Nursery and JK students, too, got a taste of Rosh Hashanah with foods like pomegranates, apples, and honey during their class seder (festive meal), symbolizing blessings for the year ahead.
Tastes of Rosh Hashanah Conversation Starter with Your Family: Reflect on the blessings you hope for in the New Year, or discuss what special dishes we can prepare to break the fast on Yom Kippur.
This week, students from Senior Kindergarten to eighth grade are embracing the ritual of Tashlich—a symbolic act of casting away misdeeds and setting intentions for the New Year.
Traditionally, our SK students and their families have visited the lakeshore for Tashlich. This year, a new tradition has been established as lower school students and their teachers will embark on a journey to the lake during their Tefillah (prayer) time on Friday. Together, we'll sing and engage in a brief Tefillah before symbolically casting away our mistakes by throwing birdseed into the lake, in consideration of the local wildlife.
In middle school, students will participate in a unique variation called Reverse Tashlich—a global effort through the organization Tikkun HaYam (Repair the Sea)—an innovative environmental practice addressing pollution in our oceans. It's through these hands-on experiences that students can truly grasp the significance of Jewish rituals, learning the value of action and Teshuvah—turning towards improvement.
Tashlich Conversation Starter with Your Family: Share a personal story with your family about a time when you found it challenging to apologize.
BZ Tekiah Gedolah Project
At the time of this writing, more than 20 families have shared videos of their children sounding a shofar. Follow Bernard Zell on Facebook and Instagram to witness these young shofar blasters in action, or join the fun by uploading a video or photo of your own here!
Shofar Conversation Starter with Your Family: The shofar blast serves as a wake-up call for us to approach the New Year differently. As a family, let's discuss one thing we each want to commit to changing in the coming year.
As we celebrated Rosh Hashanah and look ahead to Yom Kippur, we extend our warmest wishes to you and your family for a Shanah Tovah—a Happy New Year, and a G’mar Chatimah Tovah—may you be inscribed in the book of life.