Holidays & Observances

Holidays & Observances

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Jewish Holidays

  • Organize a Rosh Hashanah dinner through your synagogue for people who may not have family or friends to share the holiday with
  • Make a New Year’s resolution relating to improving yourself
  • As a family determine a tzedakah that you would like to support and have everyone in the family make a contribution
  • Donate your change from the week in between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to tzedakah
  • As the prayers discuss life and death, sign up for a CPR course in your area so that you will have the ability to save someone’s life
  • Encourage people who attend Tashlich (ritual throwing away of one’s sins) to be careful not to speak badly about others
  • If you are in the New York area, join Dorot the Sunday before Rosh Hashanah, to make packages for the holiday and deliver them to the elderly
  • Go apple picking and donate the apples with honey to nursing home residents
  • Make New Year’s cards for victims of terror, the elderly or patients in hospitals
  • Contact the chaplain of your local hospital and arrange to get the lists of Jewish patients staying in the hospital for Rosh Hashanah and visit them on the holiday
  • Create honey jars and buy apples to distribute them to a food pantry
  • Make New Year’s cards and send them to impoverished people in Israel
  • Make a resolution to stay in contact in closer contact with your grandparents, relatives living overseas, etc.
  • Bring a basket of apples and honey to a home for seniors
  • Make tzedakah boxes and give tzedakah daily in the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
  • Check in on a friend you know to be fasting
  • Spend time learning about the origin and meaning of Tzom Gedaliah
  • Commit to being a better person this year
  • Join a service club at your school or in your community
  • Think about ways in which you can give back to your community or the Jewish people and act on it
  • Make a break-fast meal for someone who is too tired to do so for him or herself
  • Donate the money you would have spent on lunch today to an organization in need
  • As Tzom Gedaliah falls during the Aseret Yemei Teshuvah (Ten Days of Repentance), take some time to consider others’ thoughts and feelings before pursuing your own actions
  • Prepare a break-fast meal for a family with limited financial means
  • Arrange a clothing drive in your community
  • Sponsor a meal before or after the fast
  • Choose one person and do something nice for them everyday for the next week
  • Call your grandparents or an elderly friend after the fast to check in on them
  • Make a resolution for the upcoming year and commit to becoming a volunteer
  • Host a food drive for those who are not only hungry on fast days
  • Prepare a Tefillah booklet for those who may not know as much as you do
  • Contribute the money you would have spent on food for that day to a food pantry
  • Have your school or synagogue partner with Habitat for Humanity and build a house for someone less fortunate
  • Promote homelessness awareness in your community
  • Help a neighbor build their Sukkah
  • Invite an child to a holiday meal
  • Offer to share your lulav and etrog with someone who does not have one
  • Arrange a Sukkah decorating event for you synagogue
  • Have a Sukkah decoration drive for people who cannot afford to beautify their Sukkah
  • Create a community gemach for old sukkot and related holiday items
  • Arrange a community wide event to take place during chol hamoed
  • In the spirit of the Ushpizin, the tradition of inviting one of the seven biblical leaders (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph and David) to our sukkah each night of sukkot, invite people who would otherwise eat alone
  • Offer to help someone build their sukkah
  • Make Torahs out of paper rolls with children to bring to synagogue
  • Invite a child with special needs to come with you to shul and join the simcha
  • Bring treats to share with friends and children to brighten their holiday
  • Bake cakes and cookies shaped like Torah scrolls – bring them to children in a Jewish orphanage
  • Join a shul in an old age home and partake in their celebration
  • Organize a party for children in a hospital during the day
  • Bring a grandparent to synagogue with you
  • Help a neighbor take down their Sukkah
  • Bring your Sukkah decorations to a local nursing home or shelter to make it more festive
  • Send Chanukah care packages or cards to Israeli soldiers
  • Tell someone about Chanukah and why it is the holiday of light
  • Adopt a pet from an animal shelter
  • Arrange a benefit concert to increase the joy of Chanukah, donate the proceeds to tzedakah
  • Before Chanukah begins, hold a seminar on fire safety
  • Make and decorate menorahs, distribute them to people who cannot afford them
  • Send sufganiot (jelly donuts) to Israeli soldiers
  • Buy a present and donate it to a child in a local shelter or someone else who won’t be getting a gift
  • Give tzedakah each night before lighting your menorah
  • Run a toy drive at your local school or synagogue to collect Chanukah gifts for children who otherwise would not have any
  • Donate some of your Chanukah gelt to a needy organization
  • Decorate chanukiot and distribute them to people who cannot afford them
  • Perform Chanukah songs with friends at a nursing home
  • “Brighten up” someone’s life – send a care package anonymously to someone who could use cheering up
  • Instead of giving gifts to your friends and family designate one night of Chanukah and give presents to a family in need
  • Dress up and put on a Chanukah play for people who are sick
  • Put on a Chanukah puppet show for children
  • Host a Chanukah magic show
  • Host a community wide dreidel game with money going to tzedakah
  • Make latkes for people who can’t afford to
  • Make personalized Chanukah cards and send them to soldiers
  • Put together a candle-making workshop and give candles to people can’t afford them to use for Chanukah
  • Make dreidels and send them to people to play with
  • Make a funny Chanukah video
  • Send pictures in frames to soldiers that are far away
  • Help older people set up their menorahs
  • Have a Chanukah carnival
  • Learn about the importance and meaning of Asara B’Tevet
  • Donate money to a nonprofit organization that helps feed those who are hungry
  • Asara B’Tevet commemorates the siege on Jerusalem – take time to think about people living in tenuous conditions and brainstorm ways to help
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen
  • Help lead a beginner’s prayer service
  • Use these resources and project ideas to develop a program for your school, synagogue or community
  • Host a Tu B’Shevat seder
  • Invite someone into your community to give a lecture about the environment
  • Prepare fruit baskets for your local soup kitchen or food pantry
  • Plant a garden and donate the produce to a soup kitchen or food pantry
  • Donate flowers to a local hospital or nursing home
  • Plant a tree in your local park
  • Cut down on pollution by walking more and driving less
  • Give a fruit basket to a neighbor
  • Use recycled paper
  • Plant a garden at a senior center
  • Donate nutritious snacks to a shelter
  • Pick fruit with children and bring the items to homebound individuals
  • Make fruit jam or juice with friends and donate it to a soup kitchen.
  • Plant a tree in Israel
  • Help a child create a last minute Purim costume
  • Donate old graggers (noisemakers) to your synagogue in advance of the Purim holiday
  • Call elderly friends and neighbors who are unable to attend Megillah reading on Purim in a synagogue to make sure they have someone to read for them in their home
  • Call a friends and volunteer to help him or her deliver mishloach manot packages
  • Set aside money to donate to matanot l’evyonim (money specifically for the holiday of Purim)
  • Prepare a community wide Purim seudah
  • Read the megilah for people who are unable to leave their homes
  • Create and distribute costumes for impoverished children
  • Bring Mishloach Manot to home-bound or hospitalized individuals
  • Dress up as a clown and visit with children who are ill in the hospital
  • Decorate tzedakah boxes and place them in community establishments, donate the proceeds to a worthy organization
  • Do Purim skits for residents of nursing homes and hospitals
  • Host a Purim party and donate the cover charge to tzedakah
  • Have a Purim carnival for children with special needs
  • Bring mishloach manot to patients in hospitals and nursing homes
  • Dress up in Purim costumes and visit patients at your local hospital
  • Donate some of the food you receive from mishloach manot to a local food pantry
  • In preparation for Pesach clean the home of someone who is homebound
  • Arrange a car wash in your synagogue’s parking lot and donate the money to tzedakah
  • Host a model seder
  • Research your family history and learn about a story that involves religious freedom
  • If you are using Pesach cleaning as Spring cleaning as well, donate clothes you no longer wear to a local charitable organization
  • Prior to the start of Pesach, donate the chametz you are removing from your house to a local food pantry
  • Invite a family that recently immigrated to the U.S. or moved into your neighborhood to a seder at your home
  • Organize a free seder in your synagogue
  • Donate money to an organization that keeps the memory of the Shoah (Holocaust) alive
  • Attend a Holocaust remembrance ceremony
  • Visit with members of a senior home and learn from the experiences they share
  • Learn about people in oppressed nations and what you can do to help
  • Be sensitive to the needs, thoughts and feelings of others
  • Adopt an Israeli soldier and correspond with letters, packages and stories
  • Adopt a family that has been affected by terror
  • Have a walk-a-thon to raise funds for Israel
  • Have a community wide barbecue on Yom Ha’atzmaut in the park
  • Bring an Israeli vendor to your community and promote buying Israeli goods
  • Send care packages/pizza to Israeli soldiers
  • Volunteer for Israeli organizations in Israel
  • Email the President of the U.S. and voice your support for the state of Israel
  • Donate money to victims of terror
  • Send messages to Israeli hospital patients
  • On your next trip to Israel, donate blood
  • Wear blue and white
  • Bring treats and snacks to a bonfire to share with friends
  • Organize a celebratory bonfire for children in a hospital or seniors living in a nursing facility
  • Show your support for Israel by sending care packages serving in the Israeli army
  • Write letters to soldiers in Israel with words of encouragement
  • Become pen-pals with a victim of terror in Israel
  • This week, buy only Israeli products
  • Bring Israeli flags to decorate local nursing homes, shelters and senior centers
  • Start a clothing drive and send the items collected to the less fortunate is Israel
  • Set up study partners (chavrutot) with people who may be as knowledgeable as you
  • Focus learning on something relevant and practical to your everyday life
  • Buy fresh flowers for patients in hospitals and nursing homes
  • Start a campaign that encourages honoring one’s parents
  • Send religious articles or books to Jews in the U.S. military
  • Donate your leftover flowers to shelters, hospitals or nursing homes
  • Organize Torah study in smaller communities for Jews who don’t have access to such programs
  • Offer to babysit for children in the afternoon to give their parents a chance to rest
  • Donate books of Kinot to an organization or people in need

American Holidays

  • Volunteer
  • Be sure to treat all people with respect
  • Support or volunteer for organization that exercise the belief in equality and civil rights for all
  • Volunteer at a cemetery clean-up for fallen soldiers
  • Donate money to an organization that financially helps families in which one parent is actively serving in the armed forces
  • Donate comfort items to soldiers serving overseas
  • Donate Judaic items to Jewish soldiers serving overseas