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Rosh Hashanah games and the 'Pickle of Life'


Before I get going with today’s column, I would like to wish all my readers a good and healthy CUCUMBER in which you are inscribed in the PICKLE of Life.

What the--??

Rosh Hashanah is almost here—a time for solemn introspection. But that doesn’t mean you and your family can’t have some fun through holiday-related online games, puzzles and activities that will last you until Yom Kippur.

Like the Torah Tots site where you can print out and then decorate holiday symbols such as the shofar and tashlich. There’s also an on-line jigsaw puzzle in which you slide the little squares around until you make a picture showing apples and honey. 

And when you’re done that, try the Replace the “Pickle” quiz. Can you make sense of this example? “We blow the ‘PICKLE’ after davening during the month of ‘CUCUMBER’. The shofar reminds us to do RELISH.”

(Answers: shofar; Elul; teshuvah) I’ll let you figure out the first line of this column on your own.

Virtual Jerusalem combines a very good introduction to the holidays with games and more. There are short stories and plans for creating a calendar, a mitzvah chart and a Jerusalem Tzedakah Box. I particularly like the page that tries to demystify the holiday and encourages kids to talk to God. To get going, it includes comments (profound and funny) from kids ages 4 to 6, like:

• “Where was I before I was born?” (Amichai, 4)

• “Dear God, My big brother says he’s very smart. Maybe you could use his help up there.” (Guy, 5)

• “Dear God, Instead of making people die and having to make new ones, why don’t you just hang on to the people you’ve already got here?” (Sam, 6)

The learn@JTS Kids’ Corner emphasizes activities that parents can share with their children. We are told that we eat symbolic foods on Rosh Hashanah to portend a good year.  For example, there is a tradition to eat the head of a fish so that we usher in a year in which we will be “at the head and not at the tail.” Then the website challenges families to adopt some brand new food traditions. Here’s a modern idea: how about cutting a raisin in two equal pieces and placing it in a stalk of celery. While eating this, you should say, “Our Father in Heaven, lettuce half a raisin celery.” 

Babaganewz.com has several free online games to challenge you:

• “Holli-Days Putt-Putt” tests your mini-golf skills as you manoeuvre around obstacles like the Honey Trap.

• Use your knowledge to power your car on the “High Holiday Raceway”

• And “Jewpardy” tests your holiday smarts. Alas, no online Alex Trebek.

With the holiday almost here, it’s time to dust off the machzor and prepare for the services. Uncle Eli’s Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Prayer Book is a delightful online variation geared to kids. Both serious and silly, these poems get across often difficult concepts like forgiveness and repentance.

I did it! I’m Sorry! Next year I’ll be good.

I’ll try to be better, and do what I should.

I ate all the cake Mama saved for our guests.

I broke her blue vase and I left a big mess.

I cried, kicked and screamed till I got my own way

I didn’t clean up my old clothes for twelve days….

I gossiped and told tales I knew weren’t true.

I happened to fill Suzie’s slippers with goo.

There’s no one to blame. The fault was all mine.

Forgive me, I won’t do the same things next time.

We may no longer spend weeks huddled over a table preparing New Year’s greeting cards. But you and your kids can still send out special holiday wishes with e-cards at Chabad.org. While on the site, check out the stories, crafts, and recipes for some traditional and not-so-traditional holiday foods like honey cake, honey wafers and candy apples. 

The Aish HaTorah site has some really challenging puzzles and mazes. After you read through the holiday articles at the site, you’ll be ready for the quiz. Here’s a sample question:

What are the names of the sounds the shofar makes?

A. Tekia, Truah, Shevarim.

B. Tefilah, Torah, Sefarim.

C. Tequilla, Brew-a, Collada.

May you be inscribed in that Pickle of Life!


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