Today is the beginning of the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah is one of the holiest holidays in the Hebrew calendar. The celebration lasts two days and begins at sundown today and ends at sundown on Tuesday.
Rosh Hashanah literally translates as “head of the year” or “first of the year." It also marks the anniversary of the birth of the universe via God’s creation of Adam and Eve. In Judaism, it is a day to reflect on a person’s deeds of the past year and set the tone for the year ahead.
Rosh Hashanah is celebrated on different days each year, according to the Hebrew calendar. It occurs on the first and second days of the Jewish month of Tishri, which is the seventh month of the religious year but the first month of the civil year.
Work is prohibited during Rosh Hashanah. Much of the day is to be spent in a synagogue. Communities also come together for feasts. Symbolic foods include both bread and apples dipped in honey.
Another tradition is blowing on a shofar – a hollowed out ram’s horn – as many as 100 times. As with all major Jewish holidays, candles are also lit.
The common greeting during Rosh Hashanah is L’shanah tovah, literally “for a good year.” This is shortened from “L’shanah tovah tikatevi v’taihatemi” to women, or to men “L’shanah tovah tikatev v’taihatem. Both mean “may you be inscribed and sealed for a good year, referring to the inscription of a person’s name in the “book of life.”
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