Rosh Hashana

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Rosh Hashana (head of the year in Hebrew) is observed on the 1st and 2nd day of the month of Tishrei, i.e. September, and marks the start of the New Year according to the Hebrew calendar. Unlike other Jewish holidays, which are joyous in character, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur express profound solemnity and moral responsibility. These holidays are connected with the Days of Awe (Yamim Noraim in Hebrew) when man faces heavenly judgement. Rosh Hashana represents the separation between the old and the new year, when Jews bid farewell to the old year by recalling their good and evil deeds. They embrace the good ones, and accept the evil ones in order not to repeat them in the New Year.

The customs for Rosh Hashana symbolize man’s insistence on a fertile year. Thus, a traditional greeting for Rosh Hashana is shana tova, which means good year in Hebrew, or shana metukah, sweet year. Traditionally, the New Year dinner is supposed to start with something sweet, for instance an apple dipped in honey.

Rosh Hashana is announced by blowing the shofar, an ancient musical instrument made from a horn from the Bovidae family, except from a cow or calf.

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