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Rosh Hashanah :: Happy New Year!

Good New Year! L’Shana Tovah!

So many of my friends send me this message during this week, but many of them do not know what the Jewish New Year is all about. This is a quick dive into all the things that make the Jewish New Year so sweet!

When it happens

Rosh Hashanah means “Head of the Year”. It signifies the start of the New Year. It’s the first day of the Hebrew month Tishrei. It is a day to celebrate and rejoice at the beginning of a New Year and the opportunity it brings. This holiday is exactly 163 days after the first day of Passover and starts the High Holy days, which leads into Yom Kippur.

Apples and Honey

Food is always a great way to learn about a practice of another religion or culture and this one is no exception! Apples and honey are eaten to celebrate and signify a sweet New Year! Other foods include dates, beets, pomegranates, and other sweet fall fruits and veggies.

Sounds

When we go to Rosh Hashanah services, there are certain sounds that are always heard: prayers, songs, and the sounds of shofar. The shofar is a ram’s horn that has been cleaned and polished. When someone blows into it, the sound is a large, loud sound. Anyone can have a shofar and anyone can blow it, even little kids!

Service

The Rabbis and Cantors wear white robes, as this is a celebration. Many women, men, and children come to services dressed nicely to demonstrate their own excitement for the holiday. Generally, the synagogue, or shul, will have children’s services, adult services, and an evening or afternoon service. The service has its own prayer book and some prayers that we say only at this Holiday. 

Now that you know about Rosh Hashanah, feel free to say “Shana Tovah!” to your friends, which means “Good Year” or “L’Shana Tovah,” which means “to a Good Year”! 

L’Shana Tovah, Memphis!

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