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Rosh HaShanah the Jewish New Year

Rosh HaShanah is the Jewish New Year, it literally means “The head of the year” in Hebrew. It occurs in the early autumn, on the first day of the Jewish month Tishrei.

The Jewish holiday of the Rosh HaShanah (ראש השנה) commemorates the creation of the world; it symbolizes the beginning of a new year and the end of the outgoing year. There is a legend that in the days of Rosh HaShanah, G-d writes in the Book of Life, what fate awaits in the coming year for each one of his people.  Sincere faith in what G-d wishes is all good and well-being makes this day a holiday. At this time, the Jews must review their actions for the entire previous year and prepare for the incipient year. Thinking about the future, the Jews ask for peace, harmony and health.

The main symbol of Rosh Hashanah is the Shofar.shofar1 Shofar is a horn of a kosher animal, used as a trumpet in religious ceremonies. Its strong voice has a power to bring G-d’s attention to our prayers.  “Speak to the children of Israel saying: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a Sabbath, a memorial of blowing the horn, a holy gathering.” (Leviticus 23:23-24).The deep voice of the shofar calls: “Wake up those who are asleep, who spends allotted years meaningless”.

Rosh HaShanah is celebrated for two days, the 1st and 2nd of the Jewish month of Tishrei. This holiday is celebrated in Israel by everyone. On this day, Jewish people offer each other gifts and send greetings to those who are far away. Families gather around the table, which is decorated with traditional holiday dishes. Of course, everyone wishes for a new year to be good for them, “sweet”. That’s why on this day at the table a lot of dishes are served, symbolizing the wish of plentiful and happy year.

Jewish New Year

Jewish New Year symbols

Depending on local traditions, these dishes may vary, but almost everywhere in Jewish families are served following foods: fish as a symbol of fertility; a head ( of a lamb or a fish) which means moving ahead and not falling behind; round slices of carrot that resemble gold coins, wealth; round, sweet Challah bread with raisins – it shows that a year was complete, healthy; fruits and vegetables as a sign of hope for a bountiful harvest; apples and honey – a piece of apple, dipped in the honey symbolizes a sweet and happy year.

 

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