Food and funfor a sweet new year

To ensure that your family enjoys all the sweet rewards of the Jewish New Year (while simultaneously taking advantage of the bountiful benefits of family rituals), here are some outside-of-the-box, ripe for- the-picking Rosh Hashanah traditions:

Visit a paint-it-yourself ceramic shop, and decorate Kiddush cups, apple plates or honey bowls together.

Put together baskets of apples, honey, raisins and other sweet treats, and deliver them as a family to a hospital or nursing home.

Give the world a birthday present by planting a tree. (You’ll have a whole Rosh Hashanah grove before long!)

Let your kids design your Rosh Hashanah tablecloths, placemats and challah covers using fabric crayons or markers. (Hint: for younger children, try cutting an apple on its side to reveal a star in the middle, dip the fruit in fabric paint and let your little stars stamp away.)

Take a Rosh Hashanah family nature hike. Sit down in a shady spot and have everyone share what he or she appreciates about one another.

Go apple picking. Use your haul to make Rosh Hashanah apple cakes, kugels and other goodies.

Have a shofar-blowing showdown.

Gather family pictures from the past year, and work together to create a “year-in-review” collage.

After lighting the Rosh Hashanah candles, join hands and let everyone share hopes and dreams for the coming year.

Leave Hershey kisses on your children’s pillows every Erev Rosh Hashanah with a note wishing them a sweet New Year.

Sharon Duke Estroff is a syndicated parenting columnist, and Jewish educator. This article originally appeared in the World Jewish Digest.