BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. At the Congregation Sons of Israel nursery school, two, three and four-year-olds were busy on Wednesday morning making round challah bread to prepare for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year.
When asked by their teacher "Who likes Rosh Hashanah?" a room full of four-year-olds raised their hands and shouted "Me!"
"I like Rosh Hashanah because I get to see my cousins," said Samantha Anisman.
Jesse Roth said he likes Rosh Hashanah because "I like apples and honey."
Aiden Kovar said his favorite thing about Rosh Hashanah is "blowing the horn."
Apples and honey are traditionally eaten during Rosh Hashanah to bring in a "sweet new year," explained Roni Shapiro, CSI's educational director. Another traditional Jewish food eaten during Rosh Hashanah is challah bread, which is made in a round form instead of the usual braided form to signify the cyclical quality of a year.
Aside from making challah bread, CSI's nursery school children also made and painted paper shofars, which is a ram's horn that is traditionally blown on Rosh Hashanah to wake people up and remind them to start new and try to be a better person, Shapiro said.
At CSI, the shofar will be blown 100 times between Thursday and Friday, the days of Rosh Hashanah, Shapiro said.
Another Rosh Hashanah tradition is the Tashlich, where Jews go to a natural body of water, take out bread crumbs from their pockets and throw them into the water to represent the shedding of sins they committed during the year. CSI members are planning to walk to the reservoir in Richard G. Wishnie Park on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. to perform the Tashlich, Shapiro said.
Ten days after Rosh Hashanah, which began Wednesday at sundown, comes Yom Kippur during which Jews who are old enough to have undergone their Bar Mitzvah fast for 25 hours.
Yom Kippur is the culmination of 10 days during which Jews say sorry to people who they have wronged and think about what it means to start over, Shapiro said. On Yom Kippur, Jews ask for forgiveness from God and try to figure out how to change their ways.
Instead of fasting, kids younger than Bar Mitzvah age may give up candy or desserts on Yom Kippur as part of showing their repentance to God, Shapiro said.
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