By Alyssa Gorenberg, Director of MHWOW

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The High Holiday celebrations for some are filled with rich traditions passed down from their families, perhaps observed with the same group of people, doing the same rituals that Jewish people have been doing for centuries, and might feel a little routine. As we ring in the year 5783, how can we keep old traditions fresh while still honoring the rituals? Check out these fun new ways to celebrate our storied holidays and help your community see a new side of the chagim!

Beto Guzman, MHWOW host in Helsinski, Finland gathers his community for Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah

10Q is a digital vault of reflection to reclaim the practice of Tashlich. Over the course of the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (known as the Days of Awe), 10Q emails you a question to answer. These range from reflections about the past year and what you’re looking forward to in the next. The questions stay the same every year so you can see each year how you grow and how the world transforms around you. At the end of the ten days, your answers get locked in a digital vault that is reopened to you right before the next Rosh Hashanah. I have been doing the practice for the past five years now, which have been particularly transformative years that I have enjoyed reflecting on in this unique way! Gather your community for a time of reflection at your next MHWOW program by using the questions on the site and journal your responses or write letters to your future selves.

Yom Kippur

I grew up assuming that once I was a Bat Mitzvah that fasting would become an obligation for me and something that I would watch all my friends take on as a responsibility. As we have gotten older, my friends have gotten pregnant, gone through health complications, recovered from eating disorders, and shifted their relationships with Judaism. This is a change the world has gone through, too. As it has become more talked about why one may not be able to or choose to participate in the fast, we have also changed the way we talk about observing this practice. MyJewishLearning published a reflection about moving away from the obligation of fasting because of disordered eating and includes a list of nine other ways to practice Yom Kippur! During the time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, or the Days of Awe, get together with your community and discuss how you may want to observe Yom Kippur this year using the above reflection as a discussion guide.

A beautiful sukkah from Shira Colsky, MHWOW host in Smyrna, Georgia


Sukkot is a harvest holiday, which is the best time to think about where your food comes from! Maybe you’ll join a community-supported agriculture (CSA), grow a little basil plant on your kitchen windowsill, or choose to shop at a farmer’s market rather than a grocery store (could depend on what your climate is like right now and all year long!) Whatever you choose, there are plenty of options to choose from so that you can eat food that is fresh, local, and tasty this season.

Shemini Atzeret & Simchat Torah

These back-to-back holidays close out Sukkot and the High Holiday calendar with a bang! Simchat Torah’s focus is on the Torah and how special it is to receive it. While many observe by throwing a big party, this may be the time to study the Torah and not just raise the roof with it! This year, let’s get you more comfortable with text studies. What’s a topic you’ve always wanted to know more about? We are throwing it back to this article by former MHWOW staff member and host, Liza Moskowitz, on how to make building a text study as easy as 1, 2, 3!