Rosh Hashanah has begun: What to know about the two-day Jewish holiday that leads into Yom Kippur

Here’s what you should be aware of regarding these sacred occasions:

In the Gregorian calendar, Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish month of Tishrei, falls in either October or September. It marks the beginning of the ecclesiastical year for Jews and the first month of the civil year. This year, Rosh Hashanah begins on Friday at sunset, two days after the end of September, which is on Sunday at sunset.

On the evening of Sunday, Yom Kippur will commence in the subsequent week, starting on September 27 and concluding on September 28.

What does Rosh Hashanah signify?

It signifies the commencement of the Jewish New Year, as mentioned in the Bible (Leviticus 23:23-31).

“The celebration known as The Feast of Trumpets, which is sometimes referred to as the “first” or “head of the year,” is called Rosh Hashanah in Hebrew. It is celebrated in the Near East, specifically in Semitic cultures, after the fall harvest. This celebration marks the beginning of a new year and is traditionally held during the spring equinox, which was the time for planting in ancient cultures like the Celts. While some ancient cultures celebrated the start of a new year during the spring equinox, others celebrated it after the fall harvest.”

The text of a 200-year-old Torah scroll that underwent restoration in 2014-15 at the University of Arizona Center for Judaic Studies in Tucson. The Torah is the central holy text in Judaism.

In Jewish tradition, the blood of an animal was traditionally sacrificed as a way to remove defilement or sin. This practice was done in preparation for the Day of Atonement, also known as Yom Kippur, which is considered the holiest day of the Jewish year. Leading up to Yom Kippur, Jews focus their attention on reflection and repentance, marking the beginning of the High Holy Days, which also starts with Rosh Hashanah.

According to tradition, the Book of Death contains the names of the evil, while the Book of Life contains the names of the virtuous. You are given a period of 10 days to repent before your destiny is finalized in either of the two books, like the majority of individuals.

What is the reason for its duration of two days?

Religious festivals typically endure for a single day. However, Rosh Hashanah is an exception.

Rosh Hashanah is actually considered to be a 48-hour period, known as “arichta yoma” in Hebrew, where Israel both inside and outside celebrates a long and significant Jewish holiday.

Ancient Jews relied on a calendar based on the actual cycles of the moon to determine the first day of each month, and it was important to have confirmation from two or more witnesses for the sighting of the new moon. Thus, the calendar was not arbitrarily set, but rather depended on the accurate observation of the moon.

To maintain uniformity, Jewish leaders within Israel continue to observe it for a duration of two days – however, they encountered fewer challenges in identifying the commencement of the festival. Jewish leaders residing outside Israel opted to celebrate Rosh Hashanah for two days in order to ensure its observance on the correct day, owing to the complexities involved in determining the appearance of the new moon (which could be hindered by clouds, etc.) And the delayed transmission of news at that time.

Rabbi Raphael Nemetsky of The Hasten Hebrew Academy in Indianapolis, coaches Meghan Schwab, as she blows the shofar in 2006. The shofar is a hollowed-out ram

What are the traditions for observing Rosh Hashanah?

The Jewish New Year is a time for sincere repentance and reflection on one’s past actions, unlike the festive celebrations of the New Year in other faiths.

The illumination of candles in the evenings with fitting benedictions, along with the worship gatherings and Scripture recitations on both mornings of Rosh Hashanah that incorporate repeated blasts from a ram’s horn, known as a shofar, and unique delicacies like apples or challah bread immersed in honey (symbolizing the desire for a delightful new year ahead), are also an occasion for enjoying meals and engaging in prayer with loved ones and companions.

The ram given in place of Isaac serves as a powerful symbol of Abraham’s willingness to obey God, and the shofar signifies the presence of God.

The sunken apples and honey tart is a dessert recipe that cookbook author Susie Fishbein considers a perfect choice for celebrating the Jewish New Year or Rosh Hashanah. (Photo provided by Martino & Binzer marketing and public relations firm.)

Special cuisine is also consumed during Rosh Hashanah.

In the Torah, the pomegranate’s 613 seeds also represent the 613 “mitzvot,” or commandments. Individuals desire abundant blessings in the upcoming year, similar to the numerous seeds of a pomegranate, which might encompass pomegranate fruit.

Round challah bread baked with raisins inside is also well-liked during the festive season.

The reason for the abundance and richness of symbol A is because fish is also consumed. Some people also traditionally eat the head of a ram or fish to symbolize the beginning of the year.

What is the significance of saying prayers near a body of water on Rosh Hashanah?

On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, Jews may be observed praying near a body of water, such as a sea, river, or lake, during the Tashlich ceremony.

Traditionally, sins are symbolized by casting off food or breaking it into pieces and then carrying them away as sins are carried away.

The tradition, which originated in the Medieval period, was influenced by a verse from the prophet Micah (Micah: 7:19):.

God will take us back in love

God will cover up our iniquities

You (God) will hurl all our sins

Into the depths of the sea.

Hasten Hebrew Academy of Indianapolis fifth-graders participate in a Tashlich ceremony, Friday, October 3, 2014, a symbolic casting away of sins. The ritual is traditionally performed during Rosh Hashanah.

Are you able to work during Rosh Hashanah?

The rest of the day is meant for Rosh Hashanah. The Torah expressly forbids anyone from doing any work. The Torah also expressly forbids anyone from doing any work on Rosh Hashanah, as well as on other major Jewish holy days.

The religious regulations governing conduct on Rosh Hashanah can be intricate.

Despite the presence of specific significant limitations, it is allowed to prepare meals during Rosh Hashanah. If the items are necessary for the observance of the holiday, transporting them is also authorized.

Orthodox Jews maintain a continuously burning candle throughout Rosh Hashanah, refraining from igniting a stove but permitting adjustments to an already lit flame. On the other hand, driving is strictly forbidden for Orthodox Jews during the holiday, whereas Reform and more progressive Jews have no issue with driving on this occasion.

What are the greetings for Rosh Hashanah?

The phrase “and sweet” is sometimes added at the end of the phrase “year sweet and good” to convey the meaning of “u’metuka”.

An iteration of this narrative was initially released in 2019.