Rosh Hashanah heads the year of Jewish festivals and
traditions. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and is usually
celebrated for two days in September or October, depending on
when it falls in the Hebrew calendar. Rosh Hashanah celebrates
the creation of the world and is a time for reflection and self
evaluation. It is celebrated on the first day of the seventh
month (the month of Tishri). Rosh Hashanah is celebrated by
Orthodox Jews everywhere and is one of the Jewish tradition's
holiest days. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year but, in
contrast with the New Year of other peoples, it is greeted not
with noise and joy, but with a serious and repentant heart.
Rosh Hashanah is known by many names and descriptions. The
name Rosh Hashanah means the "head" or "beginning of the year."
Another name for Rosh Hashanah is Yom Teruah, the day of the
Blowing of the Shofar. The other way of referring to Rosh
Hashanah is Yom Hazikaron the Day of Remembering. Finally, Rosh
Hashanah is known as Yom Hadin, the Day of Judgment. Each of
these names has different meanings, but they all refer to the
celebration of Rosh Hashanah.
Unlike other Jewish holidays, Rosh Hashanah is one of very
few Jewish festivals and has neither an agricultural nor
historical basis. In fact, the Jewish New Year is not at all
limited to the Jewish experience because it celebrates the
birthday of the world. according to Jewish tradition, all peoples and nations are judged on Rosh Hashanah, not just Jews.
Each person's fate is determined during the Yamim Noraim. the
Days of Awe.
The custom during the New Year is to only serve sweet foods.
The idea behind this is the desire for the sweetness to last
throughout the year. Popular treats include apples and honey,
hallah bread, and honey cake or cookies Before the Rosh Hashanah
meal, it is a custom to place sliced apples and a dish of honey
on the dinner table. After they light the candles and say
kuddish, each person at the table dips a slice of apple into the
honey. Then a blessing is recited over the fruit.
A pomegranate is said to has 613 seed. This number
corresponds to the number of mitzvoth, or types of good deeds,
that Jews as a society must perform. A pomegranate on the holiday
table announces to the heavenly court that as many seeds as there
are, that's how many good deeds have been performed over the
Hallah bread is commonly served on Rosh Hashanah. A ladder,
turban like shape, to the Hallah bread expresses the wish that
the family's prayers might ascend to heaven. Dough baked in the
shape of a bird also represents the same wish. It also stands for
the words of the prophet Isaiah: As birds protect their young,
so will God protect Jerusalem.
Some time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, it is
customary to throw bread crumbs into a body of water as a
symbolic act of repentance. Most Jews do tashlich the afternoon
of the first...