Friday, 04 September 2015

A Rosh Hashanah Custom from India that Can Bear Fruit in the Classroom

Imagine you're in India, where there are always bursts of color, exotic flavors and aromas.

Now let's get more specific.  Imagine you're in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) for Rosh Hashanah, where the fragrance of fresh produce fills the air. This bustling port city was once home to 5,000 Jews. Today only 20 remain but their customs live on.

On Rosh Hashanah the Jews in Kolkata would host each other for an afternoon reading of the Book of Psalms -- the longest book in the Bible -- coupled with a light meal of fruit and sweets. For them, reading many (if not most or all) of the 150 psalms was a good starting point for the self reflection that Rosh Hashana is all about. It was also a time to focus on wishes for longevity. As a result, they greeted each other by saying Tizku L’Shanim Rabot May You Merit a Long Life. The answer to this salutation is Tizke V’Tehiyeh May You Merit and May You Live.

How to apply this to the classroom? Create a colorful atmosphere by covering tables with vividly colored tablecloths. Then put together a mini-feast of sweets and fruits. 

Next, have each student write his/her own 2-line Wish Poem.  Put all the Wish Poems up on a bulletin board. Those that want, can add pictures to their poems. Some can read their poems out loud and explain why they made this specific wish. 

It's a sweet activity for a sweet year...and it's yummy!

שנה טובה













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