Sunday, September 2, 2012

Lithuanian Jews Combine a Rosh Hashanah Custom with a Hebrew Lesson

Who hasn't heard of the carrot and stick approach for learning or eating sweet carrot tzimmes for Rosh Hashanah? But eating plain carrots on Rosh Hashanah because of its Hebrew term? Yup that's the creative approach of Lithuanian Jews. They eat sliced carrots because the Hebrew word for carrot is gezer and on Rosh Hashanah we pray for good gezerot -- decrees.

I bet you're saying that's a stretch. Still, this out-of-the-box custom got me thinking. Maybe they're on to something. Maybe this is a good way of getting kids to enjoy their Hebrew lessons.

Here's the next Rosh Hashanah veggie connection that I thought of.

Explain the Tashlich custom by offering your children and students celery sticks. Selek is the Hebrew term for celery and our aim at Tashlich is to le'salek -- throw away our sins.

Food for thought? Let's face it, in the crunch our aim is to make our Jewish heritage palatable and fun.

Carrot photo credit

Celery photo credit

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