Monday, September 19, 2011

Rosh Hashanah

We celebrated our second Biblical feast day last weekend,  Rosh Hashanah.  Also known as the Feast of Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the spiritual year for the Jews.  This feast day marks the first day of the seventh month on the Jewish calendar.  The seventh month is a holy month because the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur is celebrated 10 days after the Feast of Trumpets.  A ram's horn, or shofar, is blown every morning for the ten days (except the Sabbath).   We made our own shofar to blow every morning with the words, "Awake, Sleeper. and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."  About five minutes (or less) after the completion of the shofar project I had to ask myself, "At what point did this seem like a good idea?!"

We again had a special family dinner that included among other things apples with honey (symbolic of the hope that the year will be a sweet one), cooked carrots (symbolizing that God will increase our blessings as we walk with Him), and round challah as opposed to the braided challah (symbolic of the desire for a round and full year).  We concluded our meal by reading Gen 22 and discussing God's provision of a ram in place of Isaac and ultimately God's provision of a Savior through Jesus Christ. 

The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are to be a time of preparation, to prepare for the sacred coming time.  This is a time for personal contemplation, prayer and repentance.  Actually, the time of preparation for the Jews begins a month earlier (or 30 days prior to Rosh Hashanah) for a total of 40 days of preparation.  We plan to observe just the ten days.  We read the book Sound the Shofar by Leslie Kimmelman to help us understand the feast day.

It is traditional as part of Rosh Hashanah to have a special observance called Tashlich which means "you shall cast into the seas".  We had everyone collect stones and put them in their pockets.   On the drive down to the river the kids read several verses that referenced the forgiveness of sins--they are blotted out, cast into the sea, and remembered no more.  After finding a fairly secluded spot we threw our stones in the water one by one as we silently named our sins.   We even turned our pockets inside out and gave them a good shake to make sure all our sins were confessed because sometimes sin can be pretty sticky!

This coming weekend we will celebrate Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement.  I haven't read up on all that entails yet, so stay tuned!

Seth finished up his first week of "letter learning" with the letter "S" for "Sun".  All activities were based on sun, shadows, sundial etc.  His memory verse was "Jesus is the Light of the World."  Seth learning a memory verse goes about as well as memorizing letter names.   He kept wanting to say "Jesus is the Son of God" which actually makes perfect sense since the picture for the week was of the sun!

Love this picture!  Seth is working on his sundial.

The rest of us looked at the Tower of Babel, the Dispersion and migration of Noah's descendents, Sumerians, ziggurats, cuneiform writing, Mesopotamia, the Fertile Crescent and Gilgamesh.   We referenced the Epic of Gilgamesh last week when we studied the Flood as the book gives an account of the Great Flood.  We brought it back this week as King Gilgamesh was a Sumerian king in the city of Uruk.  For activities we made cuneiform cookies, a model of a ziggurat, and the girls completed a booklet on the Sumerians.  We also finished up our Science unit on light with a few fun experiments.  As we start our study of Egypt we will take a break from our regular science book, Genesis for Kids, and insert science activities based on the pyramid.  More about that later...

I used a boxed sugar dough mix before I remembered it was "fun-fetti."  Thus the pink flecks...

Seth made animal tracks with his plastic animals instead:)

Our ziggurat

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