Long before “simanim” were trendy, when I was growing up we always had a “Rosh Hashanah seder” complete with apples and honey, pomegranates, dates, black-eyed peas, spinach, leeks and of course fish heads. We recited a yehi ratzon before eating each siman, read from the small, cracking black siddur that my grandfather bought for my father from Yerushalayim when he was a young boy. We would run away to hide when the smelly fish head was brought out! When I was in college, I designed a simanim booklet to supplement the siddur so everyone could have the words in front of them. So to me, the simanim of Rosh Hashanah are a crucial part of my holiday.
The yehi ratzon we recited on the pomegranate is “she’yirbu zichuyot karimon,” that our merits should increase and be as plentiful as the seeds in a pomegranate. We decided to illustrate this idea by creating a pomegranate full of mitzvot. My 8-year-old decided to draw pictures illustrating teshuva, tefillah and tzedakah, the three components that can erase a bad decree, which we work especially hard on during these days of Elul leading up to Rosh Hashanah. Of course you can use any mitzvah that appeals to you (or that you find easy to illustrate!). May we all merit a year full of mitzvot!
Active: 15-20 minutes
Something round to trace
Cut the shape of a large pomegranate out of the red paper. Trace three circles within the pomegranate. Cut out the circles most of the way, but leave one side attached to create a flap.
Glue a piece of white paper to the back of the pomegranate, being careful not to glue down the flaps. Trim the white paper so it can’t be seen from the front.
Inside each flap, draw a picture of a mitzvah, or print out and glue them on.
Rena Ray is a graphic designer and the founder of jewishkidscreate.wordpress.com. She creates simple crafts that kids can do to spark creativity and inspire Jewish learning.
By Rena Ray