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Happy Rosh Hashanah! [Video]

At sundown tonight Jews will begin celebrating one of their most important holidays, the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah.

Sounding of the Shofar
Flickr User Sigckgc

Rosh Hashanah literally means “Head of the Year” in Hebrew.

Unlike New Year’s celebrations on December 31st, the Jewish New Year is a time for personal introspection and prayer.

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which begins at sundown on September 25th, are called “The High Holy Days.”  During this time Jews are expected to examine their lives and repent for any wrongs they have committed during the previous year.  Jews are then encouraged to make amends with anyone they have wronged and to make plans for improving during the coming year.  It’s all about making peace in the community and striving to be a better person.

During Rosh Hasanah the blowing of the ram’s horn, called a shofar, summons Jews to religious services.  The sound of the shofar is also a call for repentance and reminds people of the importance of reflection.

There are a couple of traditional foods that accompany Rosh Hashanah.  Eating a piece of apple dipped in honey symbolizes a desire for a “sweet year.”  A blessing is said over two loaves of  bread known as challah.  The round shape of the bread symbolizes a crown, a reminder of the kingship of God.  And, fish is usually served with a wish for prosperity and good luck.

To everyone.  L’Shanah Tovah!  That’s Hebrew for “Have a good year.”

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