By Dahlia Stroud, Head of Category – Fuel, Kiosk, Non-Food, Newsagent
September very much has a feeling of reset or restart for many people. The month symbolises the end of the summer, a back-to-school mindset and for the Jewish faith it marks Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
In my house, the festival of Rosh Hashanah is a time when we come together as a family, pause our everyday life and take a moment to both reflect on the past and look forward to the future.
As a child I have many happy memories of celebrating the Jewish New Year both with my immediate and extended family. I remember collecting conkers on the walk to synagogue as Summer turned to Autumn, dipping apples into honey and taking time off school to celebrate the festival.
It was often a bizarre feeling to know that day to day life was going on elsewhere whilst we were choosing to take time out to do something different. On a day that’s incredibly meaningful in our faith, the world just continued as normal. That sentiment of giving your time wholeheartedly to focussing on the festival and allowing everything else to pause is a tradition I’ve carried on today and as parents, my husband and I are conscious of how we pass on our traditions and instil our values in our children.
My children are fortunate to go to a school that recognises and celebrates the diverse population of pupils and I actively encourage them to bring their Jewish identity into the classroom and share it with their friends. This means at around the time of Rosh Hashanah, they’ll take traditional food into school to share with their class like honey cake, apple dipped in honey and Challah bread. They’ll also take in a Shofar (a ram’s horn) which is blown several times in synagogue during the festival.
Through sharing parts of their culture with others, they’re not only able to take pride in who they are, but they’re also able to educate and share with others what it means to be Jewish. Growing up, it’s really easy to want to fit in and to be ‘included’ and there’s often a tendency to want to be the same as others. Through encouraging my children to share their culture in the classroom, there’s an opportunity for them to take pride in being different, and to create an awareness for their peers of Jewish traditions.
When Rosh Hashanah starts on the evening of 6 September, not only will my children know why they’re taking a pause from their everyday, but their friends will also know they’ve taken time out to celebrate too which is just as important.