Rosh Hashana

Shana Tova - Happy New Jewish Year!


    Photo by RonAlmog (CC BY) 

    Rosh Hashanah, the holiday that marks the beginning of the Jewish year, occurs in the Hebrew month of Tishrei and usually falls in late September or early October. ​This Year The holiday is celebrated on September 4-5.

    According to Jewish tradition, Rosh Hashanah commemorates the culmination of the creation of the universe and acceptance of God’s sovereignty over the world. The period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is called “The Ten Days of Repentance,” during which people have the opportunity to atone for their sins. These are the days on which God judges people’s deeds throughout the year and decides their future for the coming year.

  • Customs

    Prayer - Religious Jews attend lengthy synagogue services, and recite special prayers and liturgical songs written over the centuries. 

    Selichot (special penitential prayers) - During the week (or month, depending on the ethnic group) prior to Rosh Hashanah there are special “Selichot” prayers, requesting forgiveness and expressing remorse and repentance.

    The blowing of the shofar (ram’s horn) - On Rosh Hashanah, shofar blasts are sounded in the synagogue, in single, triple and nine-blast groupings. The shofar blasts are intended to symbolize God’s sovereignty over the world, to remind Jews of the giving of the commandments on Mt. Sinai, of Abraham and Isaac’s devotion to God, and to arouse people to repentance.

    Apple and honey - At the evening meal on Rosh Hashanah it is customary to eat an apple dipped in honey and other sweet foods to symbolize a sweet new year.

    It is customary for Jews to wish everyone they meet during this New Year period a “Shana Tova” - a happy new year.​
    ​Video by Fountainheads​