Rosh Hashanah – A Time for Starting Over

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. The name of this holiday can be translated from Hebrew to mean “first of the year.” Just because this is a New Year, however, does not mean that this holiday has anything in common with the American New Year, which usually involves large celebrations and champagne. On the contrary, this Jewish New Year is a religious holiday and normally occurs in September or October. A large portion of the holiday is spent in synagogue, where special prayer books are used for this day of new beginnings. In this article, you will learn about how Rosh Hashanah is celebrated and what this holiday means to Jewish people.

While this holiday is very different from the American concept of a New Year, Rosh Hashanah does have one idea in common with the January first celebration. Both holidays celebrate the idea of starting over. Just as it is common to make resolutions on New Year’s day, followers of the Jewish faith use their New Year as a time to look back at the past year and reflect on what they have done and how they can do better in the year to come. This day of introspection is taken very seriously, and work is not allowed on this Jewish holiday.

On Rosh Hashanah, the shofar is blown from the synagogue. A shofar is a ram’s horn that is used like a musical horn. Since the bible is unclear as to why the shofar is used, many have speculated its symbolism. A common belief is that the shofar is used to call member of the faith to repent. Another common practice on the Jewish New Year is to dip apples in honey. This practice symbolizes a hope for a good new year. Another common practice is for Jews to walk to a river and empty their pockets into it, symbolizing the washing away of sins.

One thing to keep in mind about Rosh Hashanah is that it does not take place on only one day, but lasts for several days. The holiday falls on different days every year, though normally in the fall. For a list of when the Jewish New Year falls each year, search the internet or ask a member of the Jewish faith. To avoid confusion, you should also be aware that there are several different Jewish New Years that serve different purposes. In this article, Rosh Hashanah is referred to as the Jewish New Year because it is the holiday on which the next year is counted.

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