Introduce the idea of new beginnings. What new
things have happened so far this term? e.g. a
move into a new classroom, the arrival of new
children and teachers, a new place to hang coats
and bags, a new place to sit, making a new friend,
learning something new.
Explain that for Jewish people, this is the beginning
of a new year. They call it Rosh Hashana. It's
a time to celebrate and it's a time to think about
some important things. Often they wear new clothes,
or their best clothes. They send cards to one
another. They eat special food, for example apples
dipped in honey, because they hope the new year
will be filled with good and sweet things.
could pass the bowls around at this point, or
if this threatens to be too disruptive then dip
a piece of apple in the honey and eat it, and
explain that there will be bowls of apple and
honey to taste on the way out of the assembly.
The Story of Abraham, Sarah and Isaac. During
the religious services of Rosh Hashana the story
is told of the birth of Isaac, and the obedience
of his father Abraham, who prepares to follow
God's instructions and sacrifice his son (Genesis
21–22). The latter part of this story is
difficult for a short whole-school assembly and
needs some background explanation. It is suggested
that the first part of the story in Genesis 21
is told, using a children's Bible. This is the
story of Abraham and Sarah longing for a child,
God's promise to give Abraham a son and make Abraham
father of a great nation, finishing with the birth
of Isaac and the joy of Sarah and Abraham.
that for Sarah and Abraham, the birth of Isaac
was a wonderful new beginning. It was the beginning
of a new life. Explain also that even though they
had waited so long and had almost given up expecting
a baby, God kept his promise and Isaac was born.
on to explain that at Rosh Hashana Jews celebrate
the belief that God is faithful and cares for
Rosh Hashana is also a time when Jews think about
the effect that their actions have on others.
Use this as a way in for children to think about
the effect their behaviour has on others. Think
of examples together. Perhaps some are good at
making people laugh. Perhaps some are friendly,
helping to make someone who is lonely feel better.
Perhaps some find it easy to say, or do, unkind
things, and that makes people sad.
that at Rosh Hashana Jews think about their actions
in the same way, and they think about how God
sees what they do. They believe that God wants
them to do good things. This is the time when
they can say sorry, to God and to others, and
try and put right the things that they have done
wrong. Go on to suggest that children might like
to use time today to put right something they
know they have done wrong.
5. Suggested song: ‘Shalom, Shalom’
(Come and Praise, 2).