Yom Kippur

Father holding his child

The Jewish High Holidays begin with Rosh Hashanah, the New Year, and end ten days later with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. From the beginning to the end of the holiday, we are meant to be thinking about affecting positive change in our lives and making amends with others.‚Äč

Here are four simple  ways that kids can participate on Yom Kippur

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Explaining Yom Kippur to Kids

Little boy saying sorry


The High Holidays are a wonderful time to dig deep and explore the value of "I'm sorry," with kids. While children may be too young for some of the rituals associated with Yom Kippur, like fasting, kids of all ages understand the weight of "saying sorry" and "doing better."

When explaining Yom Kippur to young children, it can be helpful to frame the holiday as "I'm Sorry Day." 

Even good friends sometimes hurt each other and Yom Kippur is an opportunity to think about ways to improve and resolve mistakes. When people wrong us, we want them to acknowledge it and apologize, which is why we must do the same. 



Teaching kids about forgiveness doesn't have to be somber. You can use discussion points, activities, and role-playing, to practice saying "I'm sorry" and helping develop your child's sense of empathy. 

Work on the "art of an apology" together. At home, reinforce the four steps of saying "sorry" together:

1. Say "sorry"
2. Ask forgiveness
3. Fix what you did wrong
4. Promise not to do it again

Here are some questions you can use to dig deeper with your kids:

What are ways we can show someone we are sorry?

If you had a chance to return to the time you made a mistake, what might you have done differently so that it would not have been made?

Sometimes we make a mistake by using hurtful words, not listening, or harming another person. In what ways can we use our mouths, ears and hands to help fix a mistake?


Learn about saying sorry, slicha, with Shaboom!

Saying Sorry via Shalom Sesame


A mother reads to her children

Looking for a good book to read to get ready for the High Holidays? Check out the following book lists:

Books That Help Children Understand Forgiveness
All PJ Library Selections About Yom Kippur