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When Is Jewish New Year?
Jewish New Year, also known as Rosh Hashana, is a time of reflection and celebration for those of the Jewish faith. The date for Jewish New Year changes each year, as it follows the ancient Hebrew calendar. In 2021, Jewish New Year starts at sundown on Friday September 18th, and ends on the night of Sunday September 20th.
Rosh Hashana, meaning “head of the year” in Hebrew, marks a time for new beginnings. Jewish people use this time to reflect on the previous year, and to set intentions for the upcoming year. This period of contemplation usually lasts for two days, but can stretch longer depending on the person’s observance. It is considered a solemn time, so festivities are often minimal.
Things to do on Rosh Hashana
There are many traditional practices associated with Jewish New Year. People typically spend the holiday at home with family or friends, eating meals featuring symbolic foods.
On the first night of the holiday, called Erev Rosh Hashana, Jews gather around a dinner table to partake in a communal meal. During the dinner, they enjoy a variety of symbolic foods such as apples dipped in honey, representing sweet wishes for the new year. Other traditional dishes such as kugel, challah and gefilte fish are commonly served.
In addition to the dinner, many people have the tradition of blowing a shofar at sundown. The shofar is a ceremonial ram’s horn used to make a loud, ringing sound. This sound is meant to symbolize calling Jews to prayer, as it is heard all around the globe.
Another popular ritual is called tashlich, which is a prayer and ritual conducted near a body of water. During this ritual, people throw a piece of bread or other food into the water as a symbol of asking for ones sins to be forgiven.
Celebrating Rosh Hashana
Jews celebrate Rosh Hashana in many different ways. Many families gather at their local synagogue or community center to recite prayers and sing songs of praise. Some may participate in intense study sessions known as shiurim.
In addition, there is a popular practice known as “praying with the Torah.” This consists of taking out the holy scroll and reading aloud from it, while reflecting on its teachings.
No matter how people choose to celebrate Rosh Hashana, the spirit of reflection and renewal is always present. Ultimately, Jewish New Year is a time for believers to look back on the past, and to look forward to the future with an open heart and mind.