This is an introductory guide to some Jewish holidays through books for Pre K - 2nd Grade children and adults learning with them.
This guide is great for:
- A librarian who is looking to expand their collection of well-written books about Judaism
- A parent, Jewish or non-Jewish, who wants their child to learn about Judaism
- A teacher who is looking to show their students different practices from different religions. Did you know that Hanukkah is actually a minor Jewish holiday?
These book resources (and a few engaging videos) have been curated to prioritize compelling stories, thoughtful illustrations, depictions of a diverse group of Jews and wide-ranging Jewish practices, themes of Jewish and broader values, such as community, welcoming guests, helping and more.
Don't know much about Judaism? Feel intimidated? That's okay! You are going to be bumping into an entirely different calendar, language and set of customs. What better place to learn than through children's books? If a child asks you about something that comes up in the books and you don't know the answer, then it is a great opportunity for you to say, "I don't know! Let's find out!" and explore uncovering the answers together.
If you're looking for starting overview resources, below are some suggestions.
The Jewish Holidays
by Michael Strassfeld
A book that gives an introductory overview of Jewish holidays for people interested in engaging in a variety of ways.
When are the Jewish holidays this year?
Jewish holidays come on the same date every year except that the date follows the Hebrew calendar! The Hebrew calendar lines up slightly differently to our civil calendar each year. Click here to visit Hebcal and see when the holidays are coming.
For fun, you can also plug in the date that you were born on the website and see when your birthday is on the Hebrew calendar!
Jewish holidays run on a different calendar of time, the Hebrew calendar. Hebrew months follow the cycle of the moon, whereas our civil calendar follows the sun. Each time a new moon comes, a new month begins. And, in the theme of our guide here, each new moon and each new month is also considered a Jewish holiday -- Rosh Hodesh! If you want to learn more about the Hebrew months and how they relate to the Gregorian calendar (our civil American calendar!) you can click on the circle below.
Another interesting component of time in the Hebrew calendar, compared to the civil calendar, is that a new day starts when the sun goes down, rather than rises up. Every Jewish holiday begins at sundown and ends at sundown.