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Books and resources to prepare your children for Yom Kippur

Wednesday, 15 September, 2021 - 3:05 pm

Yom Kippur is one of the most important and holiest days in the Jewish year. With the holiday upon us, it’s important that children, especially those with disabilities, understand its meaning and traditions. For young kids, the high holidays and time spent in the synagogue can be confusing. On the other hand, for parents, Yom Kippur can be difficult to explain to young children. But fear not, as these books and resources will make for a smooth and easy Yom Kippur for both children and their parents.

 

Books

 

1. The book of Jonah by Peter E. Spier

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This classic story of Jonah and the fish is one that is told in synagogues every year on Yom Kippur. In the story Jonah tries to run away, however he learns that there’s no way to run from your responsibilities. 

 

2. Scarlett and Sam: A Whale of a Tale by Eric Kimmel

 

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Scarlet and Sam’s grandma has a magical carpet that transports them to the Biblical days. One time, they come across a guy named Jonah who is running away from something…

 

3. Sam & Charlie (and Sam Too) by Leslie Kimmelman 

 

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Sam gets two new neighbors, Charlie and Sam. As they become friends they share stories, Jewish Holidays, and soon learn what it means to “love your neighbor as yourself” 

 

4. Sammy Spider’s First Yom Kippur by Slyvia Rouss

 

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Sammy Spider loves watching the Shapiro family celebrate the Jewish Holidays. Since he’s a spider he can’t participate, but he does learn a lot, including Yom Kippur’s teachings on the value of an apology. 

5. Gershon’s Monster by Eric Kimmel 

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This retelling of a Hasidic legend tells the story of Gershan the baker who Instead of dealing with all his past mistakes, he sweeps them in the cellar. Eventually he learns that there is a better way of living. 

6. Red, Blue, and Yellow Yarn: A Tale of Forgiveness by Miriam Kosman

 

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Danny and his bubbie couldn’t be more different. She is prim and proper while Danny is wild and messy. He thinks that she doesn’t like him. However, one day when Danny makes a huge mistake, his bubbie shows him love and kindness which has been passed down for generations. 

 

Other resources 
Below are a list of resources from Gateways that can help children prepare for Yom Kippur

 

How people behave in Temple

This story clearly explains how people in Temple need to stay in their seats and be quiet. This type of imagery and explanation can be very helpful for children with special needs. 

Things I can do during a long service

This story gives suggestions to children when they might be bored during a long service. 

What to do and think if the shofar sounds are too loud

Many children with disabilities are sensitive to loud noises. This story explains that loud noises are safe and it also gives suggestions to parents if the noises make their children uncomfortable. 

We hope you find these helpful and we wish everyone observing an easy fast. G’mar chatima tova.  

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