Erev Rosh Hashanah Family Seder for Parents with Young Children

Shalom and welcome to Temple Shabbat Shalom’s Brief Seder for parents with young children.


  • Rosh Hashanah is the season when farmers begin to harvest their fields. Learned farmers know that the corners of the fields are for the poor and a tenth of the crop – the tithe- is for
  • Before the Seder set aside some coins to put in your “Pushki” (Charity Box) and explain to your children where the money is going. Set aside food for your local food bank.
  • Food is an important part of Rosh Hashanah. We all remember the apples and honey and this year we will learn some ancient customs to renew. In Rabbi Isaac Lipi’s book “Excellent Sources for Sanctified Jewish Practices” he teaches us the custom of baking a Challah in the form of a ladder or a bird.
  • A bird Challah invites the children to question “Why a bird?” We parents answer that just as a bird hovers over its nest to protect its young so God protects the Children of Israel. (Isaiah 31:5)
  • A ladder Challah reminds us of the nature of Rosh Hashanah. Remember Jacob’s dream at Beth-El (Genesis 28:10). We are like Angels going up and down the ladder. Also, prayer, like a ladder connects Heaven and Earth. Finally a ladder reminds us of the Spiritual law of gravity. What goes up as prayer must come down and become acts of love and kindness. © Rabbi Laurence Aryeh Alpern

The food for Rosh Hashanah, as on Passover, may be used to fulfill the Mitzvah “teach all this diligently to your children”.
Rabbi Joseph Chaim, explaining the Apple, teaches that this fruit has three aspects: taste, appearance and fragrance. So on Rosh Hashanah we pray for good children, long life, and being happy with all that we have. These teachings are made even sweeter as the apple is dipped in honey .Pomegranates are an important part of our Rosh Hashanah Seder plates. Pomegranates have so many seeds, they remind us of the stars – too many to count.
The Prayer of Rosh Hashanah is that the Heavenly Court will count our good deeds as numerous as the seeds of the Pomegranate.
Create your own explanations as you enjoy your meal and teach your children- that this night is different for all others.

A Family Prayer

I hear the birds heading south and see the leaves turning red
The seasons are beginning to change
the world reborn once again.
On this Rosh Hashanah
We pray that our thoughts, feelings and spirits
Turn towards heaven
to the source of all blessings
as we look up
to see within.
May we all be more merciful
and understanding.
As God parents with mercy
so may we be
merciful parents. Amen.


1. Asking for forgiveness
Dear God,
Before we ask you to forgive us when we have not been good; we know we must first ask our family and friends to forgive us for anytime we may have done wrong- so we say:

“I am sorry if I have harmed you in any way since last Yom Kipper

I will do my best to act better so please forgive me

As we forgive those who have hurt us we ask you Lord God to forgive us,
For you alone turn Judgment to Mercy.

2. Bless the Wine and Bread

Discuss your bird and ladder Challahs, apples, honey and pomegranates.

Wish one another a sweet New Year and add:
We sound the Shofar on the New Moon of the New Year to sanctify time
in the joy of the Festival.
This observance is my connection to Israel, given by the God of Jacob. Psalm 81

3. Blessing of Children:
For Daughters
Place your hand on your child’s head and say:
“May Almighty God bless you with the laughter and love of Sarah , The vision of Rebecca, The radiance of Rachel, And the kindness of Mother Leah”
You may add:
May you be blessed with the songs of Miriam
With the heart of Rahab
May you experience the Truths of Mother Ruth
And the learning of Bruria,
In the coming year.
(Add your own heroines and their qualities) © Rabbi Laurence Aryeh Alpern

Bless your Sons
Place your hand on the child’s head and say:

“May Almighty God make you a father of many like Abraham
Like Isaac filled with laughter and awe.
May you triumph in every struggle like Jacob who then was called Israel.
May you have the wealth and worldliness of Joseph for in his son’s
Names Ephraim and Menasha (Genesis 48) we bless you this New Year

Bless all of your children together:
“May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord show you kindness and be gracious to you.
May the Lord bestow favor upon you and grant you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

4. Conclude

As parents and children of Israel we pray that as the Names of Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah; Abraham, Isaac and Jacob live on in us
So may our names live on in our children. May they also be parents of
uncountable children.

5. Grace after Meals:

We have eaten, and we are satisfied, so we bless you, and we say thank you
For the food, our family, and the dream that one day all your children will live in Peace and be content.