Rosh Hashana History
Rosh Hashanah (Hebrew: ראש השנה) is the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah literally translates to the Head of the Year. It is a two day festival. In the Bible, it is called Yom Ha-Zikkaron, the day of remembrance or Yom Teruah the day of the sounding of the shofar-(Leviticus 23:24-25).
Jews start Rosh Hashanah festivals with lighting of the candles and synagogue prayers. On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, Jews eat an apple dipped in honey to signify a sweet new year to come. They also place a fishes head at the table to commemorate 'being a head and not a tail'.
Rosh Hashana Facts
- In synagogues it is common for 100 notes to be sounded with a Ram's horn as a call to repentance.
- Jews typically wear new clothes on Rosh Hashanah and eat new fruits that have not yet been tasted in the season. Customary foods include round hallah bread with raisins, pomegranates, pumpkins, carrots, and honey cake.
- For Rosh Hashana, many Jews 'cast off their sins' to a running water stream/sea containing fish (the Tashlich custom). This is to symbolically purge one's body of sin and cast the sins onto the fish.
- On Rosh Hashanah, it is believed that the fate of all Jews and Gentiles is defined by God for that year. Jews greet each other with many Happy New Year wishes. It is customary to therefore greet people with a wish for a happy New Year and to 'be inscribed for a good year' - meaning to be allocated by God a full year of healthy life.
- New Year prayers include many passages relating to the sovereignty and dominion of God over the entire world. One of these prayers is recited daily and is called Aleinu leshabei'ach (it is our duty to praise God). However, on Rosh Hashanah, during this prayer, Orthodox Jews bow down to accept the full Sovereignty of the Lord.
Rosh Hashana Top Events and Things to Do
- Send New Year's Greeting Cards to your Jewish friends.
- Celebrate the Jewish New Year with a Rosh Hashana Concert. Popular concerts are held in major cities such as New York and London.
- Attend a local Rosh Hashanah service as a synagogue near you.