At Be’er Hagolah, the spirit of the upcoming holidays, especially that of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the holiest days on the Jewish calendar, can be felt throughout the entire school building.
All classes have prepared for Rosh Hashanah in myriad ways, each of them depicting the important rituals associated with the holidays.
First through fourth graders, gathered in the kitchen of the yeshiva to bake honey cookies which they will take home to their parents to enjoy on Rosh Hashanah. Students in each grade are reviewing the prayers for these very special holy days as they ask G-d to grant them a happy, healthy year, with long lives for their parents and grandparents.
Students are taught the importance of going to synagogue to hear the shofar being blown.
There are some delectable customs which Be’er Hagolah’s students are taught, such as the custom of dipping an apple in honey. Not only do they enjoy this sweet and beautiful custom, but also they know how to sing appropriate songs that go along with it. Another custom associated with Rosh Hashanah is placing symbolic foods on the holiday table. The Hebrew name of each of these foods depicts the prayer for a good year. For example, when a pomegranate is eaten with its many seeds, we ask that our merits be plentiful as the seeds of a pomegranate, or when we eat from the head of a fish, we ask that we will be as the head and not the tail.
Be’er Hagolah’s third grade students go home on the last day before Rosh Hashanah with a huge platter containing the head of a fish and all the symbolic foods. In addition, they also bring challahs that they made for their families to enjoy on Rosh Hashanah.
Fortunately, Be’er Hagolah is located within the Spring Creek Towers (SCT) community where facing a body of water allows students to be able to fulfill the custom of “Tashlich”. The first graders and their teacher, Mrs. Melber, went out to the creek and stood in front of the body of water to throw in the water small pieces of bread, this is symbolic so that they are, throwing away their sins.
There are a few days of school after Rosh Hashanah which leads up to Yom Kippur. One can hear students asking their classmates if they forgive them for hurting them in any way throughout the year. They do this because they have learned that in order to ask forgiveness of G-d, one must first be forgiven by their fellow man. This is a lovely thing to see as children take this seriously and forgive one another. The students are told that the main activity for those children who are not old enough to fast on Yom Kippur is to let their mommies and daddies pray and fast, undisturbed.
People who reside in this beautiful neighborhood but, do not have the ability to put up a sukkah can help build one in front of the Be’er Hagolah/Cong. Bnei Israel building. The singing emanating from these small huts can be heard late into the night and throughout the entire holiday. It is a truly a time of friendship and joy as neighbors come and go and wish each other a Gut Yom Tov.
The administration, staff and students of Be’er Hagolah join in wishing the entire community a happy and healthy new year and a joyous sukkot.
Photos provided by Be’er Hagolah