Rosh Hashanah

Dear families,

Each year I share a description of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. This year the new year is from the evening of Sept 29 through the evening of October 1st. In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, “head of the year” or “first of the year.” Rosh Hashanah is one of the holiest days on the Jewish calendar. The Jewish New Year is a time to begin introspection; looking back at the past year and looking for ways to be even better people in the coming year.

The following ideas are some of the Rosh Hashana content that children might learn about in school.

The shofar is a ram’s horn which is blown somewhat like a trumpet. One of the most important observances of this holiday is hearing the sounding of the shofar. A total of 100 notes are sounded each day of the holiday. The Bible gives no specific reason for this practice. One that has been suggested is that the shofar’s sound is a call to make positive resolutions. The children in school learn that the shofar is like an alarm clock waking us up and challenging us to be our best in the coming year.

A popular observance during this holiday is eating apples dipped in honey, a symbol of our wish for a sweet new year. We also dip challah bread in honey at this time of year for the same reason.

The common greeting at this time is L’shanah tovah (“for a good year”). This is a shortening of “L’shanah tovah tikatev v’taihatem” which means “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.”

Older children will learn some of the prayers that are traditionally recited on Rosh Hashana and advanced concepts related to the holiday. Please see individual class newsletters for specific information about what the children are learning.

I am wondering if families might like an opportunity for an hour or so one evening to ask me questions about the holiday or any Jewish practice? If you are interested in such an event please let me know and I can schedule this for one early evening in the next couple of weeks.

Rabbi Meir

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