Sunday, September 13, 2015

Interfaith Days: Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (the words mean "head of the year"), is celebrated this year from sundown September 13 to sundown September 15. It is the beginning of the Yamim Noraim ("Days of Awe"), or High Holy Days, which culminated ten days later with Yom Kippur. As this site indicates, "The Mishnah refers to Rosh Hashanah as the 'day of judgment,' and it is believed that God opens the Book of Life on this day and begins to decide who shall live and who shall die. The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are viewed as an opportunity for Jews to repent (teshuvah, in Hebrew) and ensure a good fate.

"Jews traditionally gather in synagogues on Rosh Hashanah for extended services that follow the liturgy of a special prayerbook, called a mahzor, that is used during the Days of Awe. At specific times throughout the service, a shofar, or ram's horn, is blown. The mitzvah (commandment) to hear the shofar, a literal and spiritual wake-up call, is special to this time of year….A common greeting on Rosh Hashanah is shana tovah u'metukah, Hebrew for 'a good and sweet new year.' Many traditional Rosh Hashanah foods -- apples and honey, raisin challah, honey cake and pomegranate -- are eaten, in part, for this reason." See also the Judaism 101 site.

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