High Holiday Resources

The High Holidays for 5781 will look unlike any other we’ve experienced, as many synagogues have created alternative ways of conducting services and connecting with congregants.  Children may be particularly disoriented by these changes. Gateways has created three social stories to help children to understand what High Holidays during a pandemic might look like.

Bingo card

High Holiday Bingo

Staying engaged during High Holiday services might be even more difficult for children when services are online.  Help them to stay focused with these fun High Holiday bingo cards!  Whenever they hear a word on their boards, they can cross it off or cover it with a pre-cut square of paper.Learn more »


Browse and download free High Holiday resources for kids, prepared by Gateways' experienced special education teachers: High Holiday Blessings with Picture Communication Symbols®, High Holiday Social Stories, High Holiday Related Social Skills Support, Make Your Own High Holiday File Folder Activity Kits, and High Holiday Crafts with creative ideas for adapting for different types of learners.  We'd love to hear your feedback!

High Holiday Blessings with Picture Communication Symbols®

Some of the blessings we say on the High Holidays are illustrated with Tobii Dynavox Picture Communication Symbols® Illustrating each word of the blessing with a symbol helps to make this blessing more accessible and understandable for pre-readers and students with disabilities. Students can use this printout to follow along with the blessing on Friday nights, learn how to recite the blessing, and learn the blessing's meaning.


hand lighting a candle

Holiday Candle Blessing

The blessing over lighting candles on Jewish Holidays is written out in three ways: large print Hebrew text, an English transliteration accompanied by Picture Communication Symbols®, and a simple English translation.Learn more »

apples of various colors

Blessing for Apples and Other Fruit

The blessing over apples and other fruit is written out in three ways: large print Hebrew text, an English transliteration accompanied by Picture Communication Symbols®, and a simple English translation.Learn more »

shofar

Blessing for Hearing the Shofar

The blessing we say before hearing the Shofar is written out in three ways: large print Hebrew text, an English transliteration accompanied by Picture Communication Symbols®, and a simple English translation.Learn more »

High Holiday Social Stories

Children with disabilities can feel anxious about unfamiliar situations and events. Social stories can set them up for success by showing children what to expect.

The Temple Book cover with picture of synagogue

The Temple Book

Let's go to temple! This story helps prepare children for a trip to temple by telling them what events to expect, naming the people and items they will see, and explaining what behavior is expected of them. When children know what will happen in temple they will be less anxious and more likely to have a successful day.  This story is not specific to the High Holidays but is a great preparatory tool to use in conjunction with the High Holiday specific stories below.

Download

Tagged under: high holidays, yom kippur, rosh hashanah, synagogue skills, shabbat, behavior



Customize Your Own Rosh Hashanah Social Story

There are so many High Holiday topics to explore with your children--too many to fit into just one story! Now you can customize your very own Rosh Hashanah social story by printing out only the sections below that are of interest to you and your child and assembling them into a single book. If your child focuses best in short spurts, print out each story individually to make a little library of short High Holiday social stories.


Picture symbol of poeple walking into shul

We Go To Temple on Rosh Hashanah

This story briefly introduces the holiday of Rosh Hashanah and explains that people go to temple on Rosh Hashanah. This can be used as an introduction to almost any of the Rosh Hashanah Social Stories.

Download

Tagged under: social stories, high holidays, rosh hashanah, synagogue skills


Picture symbols of clothing articles to wear to temple

People Wear Special Clothes to Temple

This story describes the nice clothes that people wear to temple. It also explains that people in temple wear kippot and tallitot. This story will be helpful for children who may be anxious about a change in their normal dressing routine. It may also help children who like to plan what they want to wear in advance.

Download

Tagged under: social stories, high holidays, rosh hashanah, synagogue skills


Two people shaking hands

People Say Shanah Tovah on Rosh Hashanah

This story describes how people greet each other at temple and explains the meaning of the Hebrew phrase "Shanah Tovah," which means "have a good year." This story is useful for children who want to practice their social skills.

Download

Tagged under: social stories, high holidays, rosh hashanah, communication skills, social skills


Picture symbol of girl standing holding prayer book

How People Behave in Temple

This story briefly explains that people in temple need to stay in their seats and have quiet voices. Clearly outlining the behavior that is expected in temple is helpful to children with disabilities. In addition to reviewing this story before going to temple, parents may bring it to temple if their children would benefit from reminders of what proper temple behavior looks like.

 

Download

Tagged under: social stories, high holidays, rosh hashanah, behavior, synagogue skills


Anxious face

Things I Can Do During a Long Service

Sitting through High Holiday services can be a challenge for anyone! This story suggests some appropriate activities to keep children from becoming bored during a long service. Fill-in-the-blanks encourage parents and children to talk in advance about how they plan to stay occupied.

Download

Tagged under: social stories, high holidays, rosh hashanah, behavior, synagogue skills


Boy reach out to man holding Torah

The Torah Service

This story describes the Torah service. This story can be used to prepare children to participate by touching the Torah during the procession. This story is helpful for children who are anxious about going to temple because it lets them know what to expect.

Download

Tagged under: social stories, high holidays, rosh hashanah, behavior, synagogue skills


Picture symbol open prayer book

What are Prayers?

This story explains that we talk to God by praying and explains why some prayers are in Hebrew. By explaining why we pray, this story may make saying prayers a more meaningful activity for children.

Download

Tagged under: social stories, high holidays, rosh hashanah, synagogue skills


Boy sitting with prayer book and girl standing with prayer book

How People Pray

This story describes the different ways people say prayers: standing up, sitting down, singing, talking, whispering. It also reassures children that the Rabbi will usually give instructions about how to say a prayer. This story is helpful for children who are anxious about going to temple because it lets them know what to expect.

Download

Tagged under: social stories, high holidays, rosh hashanah, synagogue skills


Picture symbol of person blowing shofar

Blowing the Shofar

This story explains what the shofar is and describes the different kinds of shofar blasts. This story is helpful for children who are anxious about going to temple because it lets them know what to expect. It might also be an enjoyable read for students who love listening to the shofar.

Download

Tagged under: social stories, high holidays, rosh hashanah, behavior, synagogue skills, sensory


Smiling children covering ears with hands and headphones

What to Think and Do If the Shofar Sounds Too Loud

Many children with disabilities are sensitive to loud noises. This story reassures children that loud noises are safe. It also gives children useful suggestions about what to do if the noise makes them feel scared or uncomfortable.

Download

Tagged under: social stories, high holidays, rosh hashanah, behavior, synagogue skills, sensory


Proud face

I Went to Temple!

Catch your child being good! This social story praises children for going to temple. Such praise helps make going to temple a positive experience. This story also allows children and parents to review what they did in temple that day.

Download

Tagged under: social stories, high holidays, rosh hashanah, behavior, synagogue skills



Customize Your Own Yom Kippur Social Story

There are so many High Holiday topics to explore with your children--too many to fit into just one story! Now you can customize your very own Yom Kippur social story by printing out only the sections below that are of interest to you and your child and assembling them into a single book. If your child focuses best in short spurts, print out each story individually to make a little library of short High Holiday social stories.


Picture symbol of poeple walking into synagogue

We Go To Temple on Yom Kippur

This story briefly introduces the holiday of Yom Kippur and explains that people go to temple on Yom Kippur. This can be used as an introduction to almost any of the Yom Kippur Social Stories.

Download

Tagged under: social stories, high holidays, yom kippur, synagogue skills


Food crossed out

My Parents May Fast on Yom Kippur

This story describes what fasting means and why people fast on Yom Kippur. It also explains that people who fast might be tired and need a chance to rest. This story is helpful for children who are anxious about changes in their family's routine. It is also helpful for children who are curious about why mom and dad aren't eating breakfast with them.

Download

Tagged under: social stories, high holidays, yom kippur


Picture symbol child eating

Children Do Not Fast on Yom Kippur

This story explains why children do not fast on Yom Kippur and gives suggestions about other ways children can observe the holiday. This story is useful for children who might want to fast like their parents.

Download

Tagged under: social stories, high holidays, yom kippur


Picture symbols of clothing articles to wear to temple

People Wear Special Clothes on Yom Kippur

This story describes the nice clothes that people wear to temple. It also describes some of the special clothes that they may see people wearing on Yom Kippur, such as kittels and sneakers. This story will be helpful for children who may be anxious about a change in their normal dressing routine. This story is also helpful for children who might be curious about why people in temple are wearing "funny clothes."

Download

Tagged under: social stories, high holidays, yom kippur


Picture symbol people talking to each other

People Say Have an Easy Fast on Yom Kippur

This story describes how people greet each other at temple and explains why people often greet each other with the phrase: "Have an easy fast." This story is useful for children who want to practice their social skills.

Download

Tagged under: social stories, high holidays, yom kippur, communication skills, social skills


Boy standing in temple

How People Behave in Temple

This story briefly explains that people in temple need to stay in their seats and have quiet voices. Clearly outlining the behavior that is expected in temple is helpful to children with disabilities. In addition to reviewing this story before going to temple, parents may bring it to temple if their children would benefit from reminders of what proper temple behavior looks like.

Download

Tagged under: social stories, high holidays, yom kippur, behavior, synagogue skills


Anxious face

Things I Can Do During a Long Service

Sitting through High Holiday services can be a challenge for anyone! This story suggests some appropriate activities to keep children from becoming bored during a long service. Fill-in-the-blanks encourage parents and children to talk in advance about how they plan to stay occupied.

Download

Tagged under: social stories, high holidays, yom kippur, behavior, synagogue skills


Boy sitting with prayer book

The Torah Service

This story describes the Torah service. This story can be used to prepare children to participate by touching the Torah during the procession. This story is helpful for children who are anxious about going to temple because it lets them know what to expect.

Download

Tagged under: social stories, high holidays, yom kippur, synagogue skills


Picture symbol open prayer book

What are Prayers?

This story explains that we talk to God by praying and explains why some prayers are in Hebrew. By explaining why we pray, this story may make saying prayers a more meaningful activity for children.

 

Download

Tagged under: social stories, high holidays, yom kippur, synagogue skills


Picture symbol talking and singing

How People Pray

This story describes the different ways people say prayers: standing up, sitting down, singing, talking, whispering. It also reassures children that the Rabbi will usually give instructions about how to say a prayer. This story is helpful for children who are anxious about going to temple because it lets them know what to expect.

 

Download

Tagged under: social stories, high holidays, yom kippur, synagogue skills


Picture symbol sunset

What "Breaking the Fast" Means

This story explains the meaning of the phrase "breaking the fast." This story is helpful for children on the autism spectrum who sometimes have trouble understanding figurative language.

Download

Tagged under: social stories, high holidays, yom kippur, synagogue skills, autism


Proud face

I Went to Temple!

Catch your child being good! This social story praises children for going to temple. Such praise helps make going to temple a positive experience. This story also allows children and parents to review what they did in temple that day.

Download

Tagged under: social stories, high holidays, yom kippur, synagogue skills


High Holiday Related Social Skills

Two people with arms around each other

Why People Apologize

Yom Kippur is a perfect time to review the important social skill of apologizing. This social story explains when to apologize, how to apologize, and how apologizing makes people feel better.

Download

Tagged under: social skills, behavior, high holidays, yom kippur, social stories, autism


Steps to accept an apology in picture symbols

How to Accept an Apology

This document presents three steps of accepting an apology accompanied by simple boardmaker illustration. It is can be used for Yom Kippur or any time during the year. This document accompanies our social story "It is a Smart Choice to Apologize"

Download

Tagged under: social skills, behavior, high holidays, yom kippur, visual supports, autism


Steps to apologize in picture symbols

How to Apologize

This document presents three steps of making an apology accompanied by simple boardmaker illustration. It is can be used for Yom Kippur or any time during the year. This document accompanies our social story "It is a Smart Choice to Apologize"

Download

Tagged under: social skills, behavior, high holidays, yom kippur, visual supports, autism


High Holiday File Folder Activities

File folder activities can help children review ideas and familiarize them with Jewish objects. Since they are inexpensive and relatively easy to make, you can accumulate a large stack of file folder activities in no time! The visual nature of file folder activities takes advantage of the visual strengths of children with autism and many other developmental disabilities.


snapshot of activity

Apple and Honey Pattern File Folder Activity

Students complete patterns of apples and jars of honey, helping them learn to associate these tasty snacks with the High Holidays.Learn more »

photo of small shofar

Shofar Puzzle File Folder activity

In this activity students put together all of the pieces to complete a picture of a shofar, helping them to become more familiar with this object we use on the High Holidays.Learn more »

balance scale

Weighing Our Deeds File Folder Activity

Students sort out the mitzvot and good deeds from the things that we apologize for doing.Learn more »

High Holiday Crafts

See how Gateways special educators revamp these traditional High Holiday crafts.  We provide visual step by step instructions, suggestions to adapt and modify each activity for children with different learning styles and abilities.


sample cards

Apple Print Rosh Hashanah Cards

Children of all abilities can create beautiful homemade New Year's cards! This project helps children associate Rosh Hashanah with its traditional snack of apples though a fun and tactilely stimulating activity. Creating Rosh Hashanah cards that can be distributed to friends and family can help children feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. This downloadable activity includes step-by-step visual instructions, as well as suggestions for adaptations to make this craft accessible for children with a wide variety of abilities.Learn more »

red construction paper card

Writing Rosh Hashanah Messages with Picture Symbols

Writing Rosh Hashanah cards can be an excellent opportunity for children to practice communicating with their friends and family. Children who are pre-readers, non-verbal, or have physical disabilities are empowered to compose a Holiday message with the help of the Tobii Dynavox Picture Communication Symbols®. This download contains materials as well as step-by-step directions for the adults who are supporting their children as they complete the activity.Learn more »

clove apple

Pomanders for Yom Kippur

This sweet-smelling High Holiday craft is also a wonderful fine motor activity! In the past, people made pomanders, also known as clove apples, to bring to synagogue on Yom Kippur, as the fragrance of the apple and cloves together helped ease hunger and revive people who were feeling faint. This kit comes with a further explanation of the activity, list of materials, and simple step-by-step directions illustrated with photographsLearn more »