Holiday 101: Shemini Atzeret

Have you ever heard of Shemini Atzeret? No? You're not alone.

This holiday takes place right after Sukkot and offers a great opportunity to explore and talk about the weather with your children.

It’s ok if this minor holiday is new to you—that’s what this blog post is here for! Let’s dive in:


This holiday takes place immediately after Sukkot. When the Temple stood in Jerusalem more than two thousand years ago, the people of Israel would make a pilgrimage there for Sukkot so they could observe the holiday together. After Sukkot, families would stay for one more day of celebration on Shemini Atzeret.

Since Shemini Atzeret also marks the beginning of the rainy season in Israel, it’s traditional to say a prayer for rain.


Learn about the weather, explore the outdoors, and practice saying the prayer for rain together.

Make a Weather Station via Mr. Printables
Hands-on Activities to Learn About Rain and Water
Learn the Prayer for Rain via My Jewish Learning


Kick off a discussion with your children using these prompts:

  • How do you feel when it rains and why?
  • Sometimes we feel that rain spoils our fun, but it actually does many important jobs. What are some of the good things rain does?
  • Rain nourishes the earth and helps plants to grow. What things do you need to help you grow big and strong?


Maya Prays for Rain

Maya Prays for Rain by Susan Tarcov is a story all about Shemini Atzeret. In the book, Maya and her neighbors are enjoying a wonderful, sunny, day outside when Maya realizes that it’s Shemini Atzeret, the day when everyone prays for rain. Will the rains come and pour on the baseball game or her neighbors’ laundry? Explore Maya’s rich and diverse neighborhood while learning about this holiday.

Maya Prays for Rain

In Rainy Day Story by Ruth Calderon, Rabbi Hanina Ben Dosa prays for the rain to stop—and it does! But soon he realizes there are consequences beyond his own comfort.


In Which I Finally Figure Out What Shemini Atzeret Is via kveller
What is Shemini Atzeret? via My Jewish Learning