Will you be eating apples dipped in honey on September 14? That’s a custom for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. According to Walk with Y’shua Through the Jewish Year by Janie-sue Wertheim and Kathy Shapiro and published by Purple Pomegranate Productions (1998), apples eaten with honey are traditional goodies for celebrating this special day. It is done to “encourage us [Jewish people] to look back on God’s faithfulness in the past year, as well as to look forward to the sweet new year God has for us.”

Wertheim and Shapiro are Messianic Jews. Their unique book gives information about the holidays of the Jewish year from a Messianic Jewish perspective and suggests activities for celebrating those days. Activities include picnics, bread-making, donating food to the poor, having a birthday party for Jesus. Scripture passages with questions that pertain to the holiday are part of the celebrating as well. Suggested memory verses such as, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us,” Psalm 103:12 which is suggested for Yom Kippur, are included in each chapter. The book begins with Shabbat and ends with Yom Ha Atzma’ut. A few of the Jewish holidays covered such as Yom Ha Atzma’ut (Israel’s Independence Day) and Tisha B’av (a day marking the destruction of the Temple) came into practice after the first century.

Jesus, His disciples and other first century Jews would have celebrated many of the days mentioned in this book. Knowing about those holidays and celebrating them may enrich your and your children’s relationship with God. I think this well-organized and fun book would be a great resource for family devotions and Sunday school classes. It was written for children ages seven and up.

Nancy Ellen Hird is a mom, a writer and a credentialed teacher. (She taught seventh grade and preschool.) Two of her published works for children are Marty’s Monster and Jessica Jacobs Did What?  Her latest work is I Get a Clue, a mystery novel for girls 10-13. For several years she was a freelance reviewer of children’s and teen’s literature for the Focus on the Family website.