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One of the benefits of using videos in your world holiday lessons is that it brings the holiday traditions alive for your students. Written descriptions can only do so much in showing the sights and sounds of a holiday.
I use videos as a supplement to my world holiday lesson plans and task students with immersing themselves in the five senses of the holiday, in this case, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Benefits of Teaching about World Holidays
- When students learn about other world holidays and cultures, they understand their own cultural traditions better.
- Exposing students to a wide range of beliefs means they’ll be better prepared to engage with new ideas and perspectives.
- It helps students learn to approach cultural differences with curiosity.
- They’ll be better friends and global citizens.
5 Educational Videos on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
In order to take one thing off your busy schedule, here is a compiled list of student-friendly videos on the High Holy Days. Each video includes discussion questions to activate students’ critical thinking and curiosity. (Read until the end for a special offer to kickstart your Rosh Hashanah lesson).
1. What Is Rosh Hashanah? | Inside Edition
In this video, Rabbi Menachem Creditor shares the meaning of Rosh Hashanah along with some traditions of Rosh Hashanah. This is a great video for discussing how perspectives on holidays and traditions vary by person and family.
- 3 minutes
- Ages 9-12
- What are some traditions of Rosh Hashanah?
- How did his family modify their traditions? Why?
- What does Rosh Hashanah mean to the speaker?
- How can holiday traditions vary from family to family? Can you think of an example in your own life?
2. What is Rosh Hashanah? The Jewish New Year | BimBam
This video goes more in-depth into some of the specific traditions of Rosh Hashanah, like the foods, the shofar, and the tradition of charity. It has light religious themes, which can be addressed by acknowledging the speaker’s perspective and motivation.
- 4:17 minutes
- Ages 10-14
- What are some similarities and differences between your life and the life of the speaker? (Ex. community service)
- What are the three sounds of the shofar? What do they mean?
- What are some of the deeper meanings of Rosh Hashanah traditions?
- What is the speaker’s perspective and motivation for making this video?
3. Jewish High Holidays Explained | Vyond
This video addresses how Hanukkah is not the most significant holiday in Judaism. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, or the High Holy Days, are the most significant holidays for Jewish people. Explore the differences between the two holidays with this video.
- 2:02 minutes
- Ages 3-7
- What’s the difference between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur?
- What are the tones of each holiday?
- Why did the speaker mention Hanukkah?
4. What is Yom Kippur? The Holiest Day on the Jewish Calendar | Behind the News
Hear from young Jewish people who talk about the traditions of Yom Kippur. They talk about fasting, visiting the synagogue, atonement, and other cultural practices.
- 2:56 minutes
- Ages 7-10
- What is Yom Kippur? Why is it celebrated?
- What is atonement? Have you heard of this concept somewhere else?
- What is fasting? What is the purpose of fasting?
- What is a synagogue?
5. Kids Try a Jewish Grandma’s Favorite Recipes | HiHo Kids
Learn more about food traditions in Jewish culture, as well as some Yiddish words. Yiddish is traditionally the language of Ashkenazi Jews in Eastern Europe. It is the second most widely-spoken Jewish language after Hebrew. This is a great video to talk about food and family traditions.
- 6:35 minutes
- Ages 8-11
- You can ask the same discussion questions that are asked in the video. Pause the video after each Yiddish word and see if students have heard them before.
- What foods do you eat on holidays?
- Where do your grandparents live/come from?
TIP: Put the video link into safeshare.tv in order to remove any ads and distractions from the video.
Free Worksheet for Summarizing Videos
How to use it:
- Write the big idea in the middle hexagon, for example, Rosh Hashanah. Then, watch the video closely and listen for key ideas that summarize the big idea.
- Turn on the video subtitles by clicking CC to help students who need them.
Rosh Hashanah Resources
Videos are just one piece of the instructional puzzle. You can add world holiday lessons into many subjects. You will find that this interdisciplinary lesson includes math, social studies, writing, and reading. Teaching about world holidays does not have to take precious instructional time. Instead, add upcoming holidays throughout the day or week as a theme.