Rosh Hashanah

The Total Tishrei To-Do List

Elisheva Blumberg August 29, 2019

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By: Elisheva Blumberg, Lubicom Staff



When the holidays roll around, it’s all-too-easy to have a one-track mind: it’s all about the food, food, FOOD.


Cuz, yeah, when you’re putting together numerous multi-course meals within the span of a single month, food is a major concern. 


But aside from food, the month of Tishrei has multiple moving parts to plan: the holiday customs, the special paraphernalia, and even the scheduling of the mitzvot specific to each holiday.


We put together a complete to-do list which includes all the details — including the particular mitzvot of each yom tov, some traditions your family may have, and smart planning tips. 


Follow this total to-do list so you won’t miss a beat this holiday season!


Rosh Hashanah



Who doesn’t love Rosh Hashanah? Exotic fruits, sweet dishes, and the resonating calls of the shofar make this holiday exciting and memorable for adults and kids alike.


Rosh Hashanah customs/mitzvot/to-do list:


Pre- Rosh Hashanah:


☐ Buy seats for shul (and reserve babysitting, if applicable, so you can hear shofar)

☐ Prepare machzorim (holiday prayer books)

☐ Visit a cemetery before the holiday (some go on erev yom tov, others go anytime during the ten-day period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur)

Hatarat nedarim 

☐ Purchase a new knife (a segula for livelihood)

☐ Purchase new clothing for the holiday

☐ Call relatives and friends to wish them a shana tova

☐ Prepare symbolic/traditional foods


  • Apples and honey
  • Symbolic food (simanim)

          o Leek, cabbage, dates, black-eyed peas, gourd, pomegranate, head of a fish

  • Round Challah

          o Temi Philip’s Honey Challah with a Touch of Apples

          o Brynie Greisman’s Simanim Filled Chicken Wrappers

          o Michal Frischman’s Pomegranate Red Wine Chicken

          o Leah Hadad’s Baharat Spiced Apricot Tzimmes

           o The Nitra Cookbook’s Crispy Honey Cookies



On Rosh Hashanah:


☐ Avoid spicy or sour food over the holiday

☐ Recite tashlich (anytime starting from after Mincha on the first day of Rosh Hashanah until Shemini Atzeret)

☐ Hear shofar


Yom Kippur 


In contrast to Tisha B’Av (the other major fast day), Yom Kippur is not about mourning; rather, it’s about getting the opportunity to start the year off with a clean slate. Consider this fast day a gift!


Yom Kippur customs/mitzvot/to-do list:


Pre- Yom Kippur:


☐ Reduce your caffeine intake a few days leading up to the fast

☐ Stay hydrated!

☐ Spiritual preparation: Ask for mechila (forgiveness), listen to shiurim (Torah classes), make a chesbon hanefesh (spiritual accounting)

☐ Purchase yahrtzeit candle (if needed)

☐ Obtain non-leather shoes 


☐ Prepare machzorim (holiday prayer books)

☐ Review viduy

☐ Eat two pre-fast meals

☐ Prepare/eat traditional pre-fast dishes: Stuffed foods (e.g., kreplach/wontons/stuffed cabbage)

☐ Bless your children 


On Yom Kippur: 


☐ White clothing 

☐ No gold jewelry


Tips to Keep the Kids Busy on Yom Kippur


Post- Yom Kippur:


☐ Begin building Sukkah 





Known as “Zman Simchateinu,” the holiday of Sukkot is centered on happiness. And with the gorgeous autumnal weather, special prayers, great food, and beautifully-decorated sukkot, it isn’t difficult to get into the joyous Sukkot spirit!


Sukkot customs/mitzvot/to-do list: 


Pre- Sukkot:


☐ Do laundry 

☐ Obtain lulav and esrog set

☐ Prepare machzorim (holiday prayer books)

☐ Buy disposables for the sukkah (tablecloths, dishes, cutlery)

☐ Buy easy, lightweight servingware

☐ Sukkah hack: Set up a unit of waterproof plastic drawers in your Sukkah in which to store benchers, items for kiddush and candle-lighting

☐ Build the sukkah

☐ Set up lights, tables, and chairs

☐ Make/purchase/hang decorations

☐ Plan chol hamoed trips

☐ Buy new clothing 

☐ Purchase yahrtzeit candle (if needed)


On Sukkot:


☐ Shake lulav and esrog

☐ Sukkah hopping


On Hoshana Rabba:


☐ Beating aravot (willow branches)


Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah



Though we tend to think of Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah as part of Sukkot, it is also a holiday in its own right. And though eating candy on Simchat Torah is not an actual mitzvah, it is pretty much mandatory for kids, so get ready for some hyped-up singing, dancing, and sugar-fueled excitement!


On Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah:


☐ Switch to “mashiv haruach u’morid ha’geshem” (During Shemini Atzeret Mussaf or Mincha, depending on custom)

Yizkor (on Shemini Atzeret)

☐ Farewell to the sukkah


Now that you’re all prepared for the month of Tishrei, it’s time to think about… you guessed it, the FOOD! On the menu-planning front, we’ve got everything sorted out for you, so you can focus your attention on enjoying the holidays with your family.


Try these recipe round-ups for all the upcoming holidays:


Rosh Hashana Menu Plan
All the Recipes You’ll Need this Sukkot
31 Rave-Worthy Appetizers for Yom Tov