Last updateFri, 14 Dec 2018 4pm

Rosh Hashanah explained

The festival of Rosh Hashanah (the name means head of the year) will be observed for two days by members of the Jewish faith beginning on 1 Tishrei, (the first day of the year in the Jewish calendar), which this year corresponds to October 3.

It commemorates the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve.

Rosh Hashanah also emphasizes the relationship between God and humanity when we make His presence felt in the world. According to tradition, on Rosh Hashanah, “all inhabitants of the world pass before God like a flock of sheep,” and the heavenly court decrees who shall live and who shall die, who shall be made poor, and who shall be made rich, who shall fall and who shall rise. The central observance of Rosh Hashanah is the sounding of the shofar, the ram’s horn, which signals the first of the “Ten Days of Repentance” which end in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  According to rabbinic tradition, on Rosh Hashanah the destiny of the righteous and the wicked are written into the Book of Life or the Book of Death. People are given the ten days until Yom Kippur to exercise repentance. Then, on the Day of Atonement, everyone has his or her name inscribed into one of the two books.

Additional Rosh Hashanah observances include eating a piece of apple dipped in honey to symbolize the desire for a sweet year, blessing each other with the words L’shana Tova, which is a wish for a good new year and Tashlich, a special prayer said near a body of water like Lake Chapala recalling the verse, “And You shall cast their sins into the depths of the sea.” Pieces of bread are thrown into the water representing the sins that are being cast away.

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