American Experience | 体验美国

What is Rosh Hashanah?

September 25, 2014 8:08 pm | By Laura


What is Rosh Hashanah? Rosh Hashanah is the celebration of the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah will begin on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 and end on Friday September 26, 2014. All Jewish holidays begin the day before at sunset instead of at midnight. In the book of Genesis it states “And there was evening, and there was morning, one day”. This implies that the new day begins at sunset.

Rosh Hashanah literally means “head of the year”. It is observed for two days on “Tishrei”(the first day of the Jewish year) and the first day of the seventh month in the Hebrew calendar. Rosh Hashanah marks a time of new beginnings. Those who celebrate Rosh Hashanah reflect on the past years mistakes and make resolutions for the New Year. This tradition is similar to the western secular tradition of making new years resolutions.

Many traditions are celebrated during the time of Rosh Hashanah. One of the most important observances is the sounding of the Shofar (ram’s horn) at the synagogue. It is believed that the sounds of the horn are calls of repentance. The challah (traditional bread) that is eaten for the Rosh Hashanah season is round, symbolizing the eternal cycle of life. The challah, a braided egg bread, is traditionally dipped in honey, symbolizing the hopes for a sweet New Year. This bread is delicious! So while here in the USA look for it in the grocery store around the time of this holiday. Another tradition is eating apples dipped in honey, which represents hope for a sweet new year.

A common greeting during Rosh Hashanah that means “for a good year” is “L’shanah tovah”. So if you happen to meet students of the Jewish faith be sure to wish them “L’shanah tovah!”