Jews around the world welcome 5784

Posted 9/13/23

The Jewish New Year, or Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Friday, September 15 and ends at sundown on Sunday, September 17.

Rosh Hashanah, literally translating to the “head of the …

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Jews around the world welcome 5784


The Jewish New Year, or Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Friday, September 15 and ends at sundown on Sunday, September 17.

Rosh Hashanah, literally translating to the “head of the year” is the Jewish New Year. It is a time of inner renewal and personal atonement.

As with most Jewish holidays, it is customary to have big feasts on both nights of Rosh Hashanah and there are a plethora of customary dishes, including: honey cake, brisket, tzimmes, (a stew of sweetened vegetables or vegetables and fruit) matzoh ball soup and a round challah. The round challah symbolized the year as the world travels around the sun in a circle.

Because Rosh Hashanah is one of the holidays where people attend services at a temple, there is no time to relax and dally at the dining table. You have to get to temple early for the best parking space, and to judge what others are wearing.

One of the most anticipated parts of the service, is hearing the blowing of the shofar. A shofar is usually made from the horn of a ram, or other animal.

Maimonides wrote that even though the blowing of the shofar is a Biblical statute, it is also a symbolic "wake-up call", stirring Jews to mend their ways and repent: "Sleepers, wake up from your slumber! Examine your ways and repent and remember your Creator."

There are four specific sounds blown during the Rosh Hashanah service, each with their own meanings.

Tekiah, a long, loud blast calling people to attention; shevarim, three broken blows which sound like crying; teruah, nine or more staccato rings serving as a wakeup call to the new year; and tekiah gedolah, a great blast played at the end of the Rosh Hashanah service.

Another tradition that is commonplace is called Tashlich, where it is customary to go to a flowing body of water, recite prayers and symbolically cast your sins represented by bread crumbs into the water.

On the second night of Rosh Hashanah it is customary to eat a new fruit, a symbol of newness.

While not practiced very much these days, usually there is no work, writing, commerce or travel is permitted. It is the beginning of the 10 days of repentance.

Following the two days festivities of Rosh Hashanah, 10 calendar days after is Yom Kippur. Considered to be the most holy of the Jewish Holidays.

Leading up to and on that day, Jews traditionally ask for forgiveness for our wrongdoings from God and from our fellow human beings.

It is on Yom Kippur that God decides each person’s fate. On Rosh Hashanah it is said, "As it is written," on Yom Kippur you say "As it is done", sealing your fate for the upcoming year.

Traditionally, Jews fast on Yom Kippur, refraining from both food and drink for the entire 25 hours of the holiday. It is also traditional to abstain from earthly pleasures, such as bathing and wearing leather shoes, something seen as luxuries in ancient times.

Baseball's Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax, one of the most famous Jewish athletes in American sports, made national headlines when he refused to pitch in the first game of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur.

Many Jews give to charities during the 10 days between holidays, hoping to help make amends.

One ancient custom known as kapparot involves swinging a live chicken or bundle of coins over your head while reciting a prayer. The chicken or money is then given to the poor.

After the final Yom Kippur service, people return home for a festive meal. Usually consisting of breakfast-like comfort foods such as blintzes, Kugel (noodle pudding) and baked goods.

May you be inscribed for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Jews, Jewish, observance


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