Since Rosh Hashanah was last week and Yom Kippur is next week, I am taking a bit of time to review these holidays with the girls and engage in a few activities with them to dig deeper into Jewish traditions. Admittedly, until we began homeschooling I had never studied Jewish tradition and therefore was personally missing the rich heritage and immense celebrations of my elders. Today, as much as I can, I like to share what I have learned. What I have found is that sharing holidays and traditions with the girls seems to increase the foundation of their faith in Jesus. It also gives them an understanding of their Jewish identity. After all, like Edith Schaeffer said, Christianity is Jewish!
Today we took a bit of time and made a round Challah bread, or a Challah crown as some refer to it. It is basically the Challah bread made for Shabbat (Sabbath), but instead of simply braiding the dough, you twist and form it into a round loaf. The circular shape of the Challah bread for Rosh Hashanah represents a crown. It reminds us that God is a mighty Ruler, the King in our lives.
While we were making the bread together I was able to talk to them of Sabbath and Jewish woman's schedule as she prepares each week for her family to enter a time of rest. I was able to explain why Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are even celebrated in Jewish homes and what they represent. I was able to ask them if they found weekly traditions to be comforting and identifying or simply one more thing to add to the week. I was able to talk to them of the symbolism of Jewish traditions and ask them what they see as symbolism in our family weeks. I was able to see gaps and bridges in their understanding, which will aid me in future conversations. But my favorite part of incorporating this Challah baking into our day was when I got to point out how God is all about the celebrations. And how Jesus's first miracle was to turn water to wine for not other reason than for the party to go on! God created holidays - we did not! We follow this Christ who is not dull nor dingy but rather vibrant and alive, ready at every turn to celebrate and commemorate significance as a Body of Believers. It makes me happy each and every time I can share that Truth, in a tangible way, with my girls.
P.S. If you are unfamiliar with Jewish celebrations and would like to learn more, these are a few books that really helped me in that process:
Walk with Y'shua Through the Jewish Year
Understanding Jewish Holidays and Customs: Historical and Contemporary
The Feasts of Adonai, Why Christians Should Look at Biblical Feasts