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10 Yom Kippur Songs for Kiddos

Introducing the sacred teachings and the profound significance of Yom Kippur to young minds can indeed be a delicate task. At its core, Yom Kippur speaks to the universal themes of reflection, understanding, and personal growth — values that even the youngest among us can grasp and appreciate in their own way. Music, with its power to transcend age and communicate complex emotions, becomes the perfect medium to guide little hearts on this spiritual journey.

Translating Deep Concepts for Young Minds

While the gravity of “repentance” might be overwhelming for young souls, focusing on simpler, relatable concepts like self-awareness, empathy, and harmony allows them to connect with Yom Kippur’s essence. This curated list of songs reflects just that — a harmonious blend of timeless melodies and contemporary tunes that echo the profound lessons of the Day of Atonement.

A Musical Guide for Every Listener

From reimagined traditional hymns and captivating fingerplays for the tiniest of listeners to engaging story-songs about Jonah, there’s a musical experience here for every young listener. Whether you’re an educator at a synagogue, a parent looking to instill valuable lessons, or simply someone aiming to make this Yom Kippur special for the children in your life, these songs are sure to leave a lasting imprint.

Listen to all these songs with my Yom Kippur-ish Songs for Early Childhood Spotify playlist!

1. Jonah and The Whale – Jeff Klepper


The simple chorus of this song makes it instantly singable, especially with the right visual props! I’ve got a whole post about sharing that song: Jonah and The Whale Story Song with Puppets.

2. I’m Sorry for What I Did Wrong – Avinu Malkeinu

This song is TTTO (to the tune of) the traditional Avinu Malkeinu, I typically sing the English, then the Hebrew, then the English again. The vast majority of adult recognize this melody within a few notes, which captivates their attention: our brains like things that are both familiar and novel at the same time. I don’t know the original source of the translation, I’ve heard it done a few ways, but I’ve adapted it to align with what I know to be true about apologies and young children.


I love this song and use it regularly- it makes a great PreK graduation tune! This uplifting message is a call to action that is sweet, simple, and soulful. Adding the hand movements enhances interactivity..

4. Turn, Turn, Turn – The Byrds

The Byrds quoted the Book of Ecclesiastes (Kohelet), which is typically read during Yom Kippur, in this pop song’s lyrics. 

In music classes, I distribute scarves to the children to help them practice their gross motor coordination by making big movements in their space. I’ll share this sweet video and we’ll literally turn, turn, turn as the music plays.

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven


A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

An incredibly talented songwriter and inspiration, Laurie Berkner explains human nature quite brilliantly in this simple diddy:

This is a BRILLIANT tune from the very talented Eliana Light. It offers a simple and relatable prayer inspired by the sacred words of Ashamnu, and integrates the soul gripping “Aiy yay yay yays” that come from our tradition. Please enjoy learning it with her and then see how my toddler takes ownership:

7. Turn It Around Birthday – Daniel Tiger

Daniel Tiger, whose neighborhood is based on Mr. Roger’s fictitious one we grew up with, provides an impressive explanation of the concept of teshuva

When something seems bad,
turn it around,
and find something good!

8. Overboard – Josh Nelson

This animated version of the story of Jonah is a great way to encourage kids to consider the biblical story.

I ask kids to try to identify the beginning, middle, and end of the story as they watch. Then I invite them to collaboratively retell the story to assess their learning.


9. Al Cheit – Joanie Leeds

I like to use the recording of this song as an auditory prompt during an arts activity. 

I’ll provide basic art supplies so kids can draw or journal about the things they want to do differently in the new year. Encouraging kids to actively listen to a song for clues will help them understand Yom Kippur while offering an opportunity to reflect.


10. Family Blessing Song – Miss Emily

Learn how to share the original: Family Blessing Song Leader’s Guide

This echo song is a great way to encourage participation from an intergenerational audience. I particularly like the connective tendencies of this tune, and it works for any time of year. 

A few years ago, I wrote a special verse for this High Holiday season:

It is the New Year
It will be sweet
We say Shana Tova
To people we greet
We’ll grow, learn and love
Try things that are new
Find time each day
For a thoughtful review:
Did I make good choices?
Did I make a mistake?
Could it be different next time?
What steps can I take?
Should I ask for help?
Or can I help out a friend?
Cause’ I’m learning and growing…
I can make amends.

The participants take turns in the verses, giving and receiving blessings from the ones they love. I highlight that this love swap is a way to address and repair rifts in a relationship.

Ask the adults to listen while the children sing, then have the children listen while the adults sing back to them. Then everyone comes together for a sweet finale!

P.S. I can’t share this song without kvelling a bit. Check out how sweet my babies are singing along to this tune.


Conclusion: Immerse, Reflect, and Connect

Dive into these melodies and let the rhythms, harmonies, and lyrics create an enriching atmosphere of reflection and connection. Don’t forget, for a seamless musical journey, tune into the ‘Yom Kippur-ish Songs for Kiddos‘ playlist on Spotify. Happy listening, and may this Yom Kippur be filled with understanding, growth, and memorable melodies for you and your loved ones

If you want to learn more about how to connect and educate kids and families about Judaism through music, check out my course: Songleading For Kiddos.


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