One of the most significant Jewish holidays is here. What to know about Rosh Hashana

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, marks the beginning of the year and is celebrated with special gatherings, food, and prayers. It is translated from Hebrew to mean “head of the year.” The holiday also signifies the start of the High Holy Days, leading up to the Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.

After experiencing those periods of self-reflection, we should strive to enhance the environment surrounding us and contemplate the methods in which we desire to establish a friendly, inclusive, and secure community. Rabbi Rob Gleisser, the senior Jewish educator at Penn State Hillel, emphasized the importance of considering both our ability to assist others and our personal growth as individuals within a united community during these instances.

Here’s what you should be aware of regarding Rosh Hashana:.

Boys play outside as men celebrate the New Year inside at the tomb of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov on Sept. 18, 2020, in Uman, Ukraine. Despite travel restrictions imposed by Ukraine meant to curb the spread of COVID-19, a few thousand pilgrims arrived in Uman for Rosh Hashanah. Uman is home to the tomb of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, founder of a prominent Hasidic movement.
Two Ethiopian Jews perform Tashlich, a Jewish atonement ritual, at a lake formed by the Umanka River on the first day of Rosh Hashanah on Sept. 10, 2018, in Uman, Ukraine.

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Rosh Hashana commences at dusk on Sunday and extends until Tuesday evening.

The celebration of the Jewish New Year is known as “arichta yoma” in Israel, lasting for 48 hours, which is a unique and significant holiday both inside and outside the country.

What is the reason behind the celebration of Rosh Hashana?

Professor Frieda Weinstein-Bascom and Professor Max Belzer, both experts in Jewish Studies and Classical Judaism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, are looking forward to the upcoming year as an opportunity to focus on Rosh Hashana. This holiday is often seen as a time to reflect on the previous year.

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“Isn’t it? It’s the time for taking stock, there are new years like all and it’s the beginning of the Jewish calendar.”

“What do I want to enhance? You know, the equivalent of signing up for a gym membership in January,” he expressed.

Rosh Hashana is also important for some Jewish people as a celebration of the humanity of creation. It may be referred to as the “birthday of the world,” marking the time when Eve and Adam entered life, or when God created the breath of life.

Second gentleman Douglas Emhoff: Rosh Hashana revolves around a straightforward inquiry. What type of world do we desire to reside in?

What are the customs for observing Rosh Hashana?

On the occasion of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish congregations will recite unique prayers and songs to commemorate the new year. Numerous individuals from the Jewish community will participate in religious services at synagogues and other places of worship.

Gleisser expressed, “in various ways, we unite as a collective to partake in a celebration. The cornerstone of Rosh Hashana rituals and indeed any Jewish celebration is the sense of togetherness, whether it be in a synagogue or alternative venues.”

Members of the Ethiopian Jewish community gather in a makeshift synagogue on Sept. 22, 2006, as they celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year in Gondar, Ethiopia.

Certain Jewish communities will sound a Shofar, a curved horn made from a ram’s horn.

Rosenblum expressed, “it truly somewhat punctures the atmosphere, and you cannot disregard it.” “It is designed to somewhat provoke you, rouse you to the concept of contemplating the new year, evaluating your actions, getting ready to repent, and in the period preceding Rosh Hashana it starts to be employed as a sort of alarm.”

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In order to represent the act of purging sins, certain Jewish individuals may also engage in a Tashlich ritual near a body of water, in addition to casting fragments of bread or other edibles into the water.

The shofar, held by Rabbi/Cantor Meeka Simerly of Temple Beth Tikvah in Wayne, New Jersey, is blown during the Jewish High Holy Days.
Joel Friedman and his family observe Tashlich beside the seafront at dusk on Sept. 24, 2020, in Canvey Island, England. The atonement ritual of Tashlich comes from the Hebrew word meaning

What are some classic Rosh Hashana dishes?

Many Jews celebrate by holding commemorations and sharing special meals with friends and family. Rosh Hashana celebrations not only occur within the walls of a synagogue.

  • Some Jewish individuals consume apples and honey in combination to symbolize a delightful start to the year.
  • Individuals may also consume challah, a braided bread, in a circular loaf to symbolize the cyclical nature of the year.
  • Pomegranate seeds also symbolize the 613 mitzvot, or commandments, that are mentioned in the Torah, the sacred book of Judaism.
  • USA TODAY informed Rabbi Danielle Leshaw, the senior instructor and advocate for Hillel International, “and with this notion that you desire to experience a pleasant and plentiful year ahead,” there is simply a great deal of focus on sweetness so that you are entering the year with favorable flavors and positive emotions, specifically for Rosh Hashana.

    Rabbi Elyse Goldstein, right, and comedian Deb Filler share apples and honey as is customary in Jewish tradition during a socially distanced Rosh Hashanah celebration at a drive-in on Sept. 20, 2020, in Toronto.
    Batya Weisinger, 11 makes round challah bread for Rosh Hashanah in her Teaneck, N.J., home on Sept. 27, 2019.

    Is it acceptable to say ‘joyful Rosh Hashana’?

    Yes, it is appropriate to say “Happy New Year” or “Happy Rosh Hashanah” if you are talking to your Jewish family, friends, classmates, or coworkers around the holiday.

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