Rosh Hashanah Party

Among the games children will play at the J’s first Rosh Hashanah New Year’s Eve party is tossing plastic apples into a pot of honey.

Grandparents, parents, children and other family and friends are invited to party like it’s 5778 at the Valley of the Sun JCC’s (The J) first Rosh Hashanah New Year’s Eve party.

In partnership with the PJ Library, The J is throwing the party as a way to connect children to the meaning of the holiday through games, music and crafts.

Featuring a concert by Todd Herzog, the party takes place Sunday, Sept. 10 in the morning. Sept. 10 is also National Grandparents Day.

“It’s Rosh Hashanah coming up, and what better day to have a New Year’s party than on National Grandparents Day with our close bubbes and zaydes and friends,” said Rachel Wallach, director of the Early Childhood Center at The J.

The party will, of course, feature Rosh Hashanah-themed activities, as well as a photo booth with props and costumes, plus a story time led by Marcy Lewis, program director for the PJ Library of Phoenix. PJ Library is a national nonprofit that provides free Jewish-themed books and music to children. It is funded by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and local donors.

Herzog is the cantorial soloist at Temple Solel, festival organizer for the Desert Gathering Jewish Music Fest and a singer-songwriter with six albums, including “Something to Believe In,” which was released in May. He plans to perform holiday favorites, such as a song about apples and honey set to the tune of “Macarena,” as well as some of his own compositions.

“We are excited to host Todd Herzog and to bring the community together with singing, dancing and rejoicing in the sweetness of Rosh Hashanah,” said Wallach, who began organizing the event while she was the program director of the PJ Library.

In addition, Herzog will conduct a shofar activity that will include explanations of the shofar sounds and their meaning. Tekiah, the long blast of the horn, is usually the kids’ favorite, Herzog said.

“I think that music and community are what really sets the tone for the holidays.” Herzog said. “This event is a chance for everybody to get together and celebrate the New Year.”

For the story hour, Lewis will read the popular “Sammy Spider’s First Rosh Hashanah.” The Sammy Spider series of books by Sylvia Rouss is a crowd favorite with younger children, Lewis said. The books teach kids about Jewish holidays as Sammy Spider observes the Shapiros, a Jewish family with whom Sammy and his mother live.

The festivities run from 9:30-11:30 a.m. The cost for members of The J is $10 for groups of up to four, plus $2 per additional guest. The cost for non-members is $20 for groups of up to four, plus $3 per additional guest. JN

For more information or tickets, call 480-659-7769 or email

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