7 Books About The Jewish Calendar

child pointing up at the moon

Did you know that the Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar? That means that its months are set in accordance with the phases of the moon. Each month is marked by a special observance called Rosh Chodesh, which means “head of the month” in Hebrew.

Rosh Chodesh is a celebration of the new moon’s sighting at the beginning of each month in the Hebrew calendar. According to the book of Exodus, prior to their release from slavery in ancient Egypt, the people of Israel were commanded by God to observe Rosh Chodesh. Every people has some form of calendar by which to keep track of their holidays and special times, and this commandment helped mark the true beginning of the Israelites’ identity as a nation. Most years on the Hebrew calendar contain twelve months, but periodically a thirteenth month is inserted so that the cycle matches the solar calendar more closely--kind of like a Jewish leap year.

To learn more about the Jewish calendar, specifically the new moon, check out the following picture books:

And There Was Evening And There Was Morning by Harriet Cohen Helfand & Ellen Kahan Zager

Recommended for ages 7 to 8

When God created the world, each day began in the evening -- just as days in the Jewish calendar still do today. This book’s beautiful, high-concept design gives new life to the words of an ancient story.

The Colors of My Jewish Year by Marji Gold-Vukson

Recommended for ages birth to 2

Babies and toddlers love bright colors, and learning to identify them is fun. All the colors of are represented here in a rainbow of Jewish objects.

Hanukkah Moon by Deborah Da Costa

Recommended for ages 7 to 8

Isobel’s Aunt Luisa is from Mexico, and at her house, dreidels are filled with candy, and they welcome the “luna nueva,” the new moon that always arrives during “Januca.” Isobel will never forget this Hanukkah!

Here Is The World by Lesléa Newman

Recommended for ages 3 to 4

The cycle of the Jewish year is a world of joy, significance, and wonder, especially for a new baby encountering each holiday for the first time. As the leaves turn gold, flutter to the ground, and are ultimately replaced by fresh green buds, we follow the Jewish year from one milestone to the next.

New Month, New Moon by Allison Ofanansky

Recommended for ages 7 to 8

Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of a new month, is marked with a new moon. In this story, a family hikes out to the Negev Desert to observe the phases of the moon in the beautiful Israeli night sky.

The Rabbi and the Twenty-Nine Witches by Marilyn Hirsh

Recommended for ages 6 to 7

A clever rabbi is finally able to overcome the witches that frighten the villagers once each month, when the moon is full.

The Sages of Chelm and the Moon by Shlomo Abbas

Recommended for ages 6 to 7

Those Chelmites! They’re just too smart for their own good. The moon lights the way at night, but thanks to the lunar cycle, Chelm is left in the dark every month. When the town sages come up with an idea to catch the moon...well, let’s just say the result is predictable. And funny.


Make An Edible Moon Chart
The Jewish Calendar via My Jewish Learning