Kingship, revelation, proclaiming of trust — Yom Teruah might just become my favorite autumn holiday. Post-Biblically, the holiday also began to represent the New Year festival, a celebration of the creation of the world. What a rich landscape on which to meditate!
The Feast of Trumpets is a day of proclaiming that God is king. It was established along with the other fall festivals in Numbers 29, to be observed as a time of blasting on the shofar. On this day of shouting, we shout along with the people of Israel to proclaim God’s power over every stronghold of the enemy. Jesus will return to judge the earth! This is our steadfast hope, and it’s our joy to announce him to the world and wake the sleepers. Make ready, he is returning!
Celebrating the birthday of the world also offers a rich opportunity for discussing the nature of God with our families. All that he created tells us something about himself.
Here are some ways you can celebrate the day:
• Make a banner that says “He is Lord” or similar, a visible proclamation.
• Share apples dipped in honey, or apple Challah (recipe to follow!)
“His rulings are … sweeter than honey or drippings from the honeycomb.” (Psalm 19)
• Spend time in nature, especially if there is somewhere beautiful you can go, or visit a zoo or an aquarium. The wonders of nature are endless!
• Tashlich is a practice of “casting away” our sins, bad decisions, and sorrows. It’s a way to make a fresh start for the new year, and to visualize how trusting God means letting go of our fears, sins and shame. Use breadcrumbs, pebbles or dried leaves to cast into water or into the wind.
• Have a special meal together, light candles, say a blessing over each other (below) and proclaim his lordship by repeating Scriptures or singing. There are many scriptures that are appropriate; try Psalm 19, Psalm 150, Joel 2, Jeremiah 31:1-19. Make a loud noise!
May Adonai bless you and keep you.
May Adonai make his face shine on you and show you his favor.
May Adonai lift up his face toward you and give you peace.
(Numbers 6 CJB)
Books for children
Books give children a way to understand the essence of holy days through story and illustrations. Books about Rosh Hashanah and about the creation of the world are great choices for Yom Teruah!
The Creation • Brian Wildsmith
Brian Wildsmith’s illustrations are beautiful. Any of his other books about nature or animals would be wonderful to read as well.
Happy New Year, Beni • Jane Breskin Zalben
A Jewish family celebrates Rosh Hashanah and learns about forgiveness.
The Story of the Creation • Jane Ray
Text from the King James Version of the Bible alongside beautiful illustrations of creation.
Let the Whole Earth Sing Praise • Tomie dePaola
A song of thanks and praise for everything in the earth.
The Creation Story • Norman Messenger
A beautiful book about creation.
Happy Birthday, World • Latifa Berry Kropf
For the very littlest, a board book introduction to Rosh Hashanah.