Apples, Honey, and the Head of a Sheep?
Lesson plan:
1. Introduce the concept of simanim (symbolic foods) on Rosh Hashanah.
2. Lead a discussion around the sources on the sheet.
3. Show the video.
4. Instruct students to write their own blessings, take a photo of the food, and add it to the sheet.
5. Share and discuss the class responses. Use the "visualize" feature to display class work. From the "File" menu, click "Visualize". The items on the sheet will be displayed like post-it notes and can be re-sized and re-distributed on the screen.
6. Share the sheet with parents or the school community. To share the visualized version, copy the URL when the sheet is in visualize mode.

Every holiday has its own food custom. Hamentaschen on Purim, latkes or sufganiyot on Chanuka, and apples and honey on Rosh Hashanah.
But why apples and honey? And are those the only special Rosh Hashanah foods? Does your family have a tradition to eat any other foods to celebrate the new year?
Credit: Original image can be found here. CC-0
A symbol is something that represents something else. For example, a heart symbolizes love. What does honey symbolize? What do the apples and honey that we eat on Rosh Hashanah symbolize? In case we can't figure it out on our own, a blessing is said before eating the symbolic food.
...כמו באשכנז שרגילין לאכול בתחלת הסעודה תפוח מתוק בדבש לומר תתחדש עלינו שנה מתוקה
...As in Germany, where they are accustomed to eating sweet apple with honey at the beginning of the meal, to say, "Let this new year be sweet for us."
Other communities eat different foods to symbolize various hopes for the new year. The text continues with a few more examples.
ובפרובינצ"א נוהגין להביא על השלחן כל מיני חידוש ואוכלין ראש כבש והריאה לומר נהיה לראש ולא לזנב והריאה לפי שהיא קלה והר"מ מרוטנבורג היה רגיל לאכול ראש איל זכר לאילו של יצחק:
And in Provence they are accustomed to bring all types of novelties [to the meal] and to eat a sheep's head and lung, to say, "Let us be at the head and not at the tail;" and the lung because it is light. And our teacher, Rabbi Meir of Rothenberg was accustomed to eat the head of a ram to commemorate the ram of Yitzchak.
Watch the video below for additional examples of symbolic foods. To view the subtitles in English, click on the gear (settings) and select "English".
Now it's your turn! What wish do you have for the new year? What food, and food related pun, would you use to symbolize your wish?