Rosh Hashanah: Happy (Jewish) New Year 5783!

rosh hashanah shofar

Blowing the shofar for Rosh Hashanah. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

SUNSET SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25: Rich dishes made with honey, paired with blasts from the shofar, mean it’s Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year—and it’s also the start of the High Holidays.

Do you know someone who is Jewish? Wish him or her L’shanah tovah—“For a good year!”

On the first and second days of the Jewish month of Tishri, Rosh Hashanah is celebrated by Jews around the world. In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means “head of the year,” or “first of the year,” and many Jews use this period of time to make resolutions and commitments for self-improvement.

Compared with secular New Year celebrations, writes Rabbi Lenore Bohm in this inspiring reflection on the holiday, “the Jewish New Year, while joyful, is spiritual, thoughtful, and reflective.  We try to remember, not forget.  We visit the graves of loved ones. We look for opportunities to be especially generous and charitable. We gather with close friends and family for delicious, home-cooked meals.  We express hope that we have grown in the year gone by.” (You’ll also enjoy the list of holiday questions Rabbi Bohm lists at the end of her column, which all of us—whatever our faith—would benefit from asking.)

On Rosh Hashanah, work is not permitted and many more traditional adherents spend the day in the synagogue. The shofar, a ram’s horn blown like a trumpet, is one of the holiday’s most famous symbols—but Rosh Hoshanah also comes with special readings and prayers for a good new year.

HONEY, APPLES AND BREAD: A SWEET NEW YEAR

rosh hashanah apple honey

An apple and honey, fare for Rosh Hashanah. Photo by Vladimir Gladkov, courtesy of Pexels

Of the sweet foods consumed on Rosh Hashanah, none is more popular than honey. Jerusalem, biblically referred to as “the land of milk and honey,” is yet another reason to eat honey on this special holiday. Jewish families like to serve apples or bread dipped in honey, or create dishes that incorporate these ingredients.

What are the High Holidays? Sometimes referred to as “High Holidays,” or “High Holy Days,” this is the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and usually the phrase includes the 10 days in between. One description of this period says, in essence, that G_d opens the books of judgment as the new year begins and finally, on Yom Kippur, the judgment for the year is “sealed.”

EXTRAS: BRISKET AND HONEY

Fifteen traditions: Reader’s Digest reported 15 must-observe traditions for Rosh Hashanah this year.

Want to make a perfect brisket? It’s a holiday favorite in many Jewish homes, and FeedTheSpirit columnist Bobbie Lewis (with guest writer Debbi Eber) tackles the tips and techniques for a perfect brisket dinner.

Sweet recipes: Looking to bake up something sweet and scrumptious this Rosh Hashanah? Try the Huffington Post’s 21 recipes with honey and apples; or forward.com’s granola baked apples. For an entire menu of Rosh Hashanah recipes, check out AllRecipes, Epicurious, Food Network and Martha Stewart.

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