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The Rosh Hashanah Research Thread

Forum: Spiritual Living


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September 8th, 2012, 05:34 AM
Carwen*Angel's Avatar Fly away on my zephyr
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*Please bear in mind I am not an expert on Jewish festivals, I have researched it on the internet, and cross-referenced several articles/sites to try and find reliable information. I do not know whether all of this is accurate. If you know more than I do and spot a mistake, please let me know and I will edit.

Please also add your own links and information to this thread if you have anything to add. Please do not copy paste information - write it out in your own words or provide a link - and please no Wikipedia. Thank you.*

My research on Rosh Hashanah:

Rosh Hashanah is a Jewish festival and a moveable feast on the Gregorian calendar, because it falls during the season of Tishri* on the Jewish calendar.

Rosh Hashanah falls on 17th-18th September in 2012.

It is essentially the Jewish New Year, though rather than being a time of merry-making as the secular New Year/Hogmanay, it is a religious and introspective time allowing people to reflect and look back on what has gone before, and make plans and look forward to what can be achieved in the next year. It is believed that this is a time of judgement when G_d will balance the good and bad deeds of an individual throughout the previous year and it will be decided whether blessings or bad times will befall them the year after, so it is also a time of repentance. The festival also commemorates the creation of the world.

There are several "new year" festival days in Judaism, which represent the new year for different purposes, but Rosh Hashanah is the actual new year when the year number moves on, as akin to 31st December on the Gregorian calendar.

In the book of Leviticus, common to the Christian Bible and the Jewish Torah, the day is called Yom Ha-Zikkaron (literally, Day of Remembrance) or Yom Teruah (literally, the day of the sounding of the shofar). The more modern name of Rosh Hashanah literally means "head of the year".

The shofar is a ram's horn which is sounded one hundred times in the synagogue throughout Rosh Hashanah and may be a call to prayer, remembrance or repentance - unless the holiday falls on Jewish Shabbat (Friday evening through to Saturday evening) - a day of rest observed strictly by many Jewish families. Jews are expected not to work on Rosh Hashanah and to spend much of the day in the synagogue in worship, using the special machzor prayerbook reserved for this date and Yom Kippur. Special prayers include the Malkhuyot, themed around the sovereignty of G_d; the Zikhronot, themed around G_d's remembrance of past deeds; and the Shofarot, relating to anticipation of the future. Part of the religious meaning of the ceremony is to proclaim G_d as the one true king / deity.

Other Rosh Hashanah customs include eating apples or bread dipped in honey, which symbolises a sweet new year; and emptying one's pockets or casting small crumbs of bread into a river or flowing water - a practice known as Tashlikh - symbolising starting afresh for the new year. There is also a traditional greeting - "L'shanah tovah" meaning "for a good New Year." The traditional Shabbat Challah bread is served on this day but in the shape of a round, representing the circle of life and the culmination of a cycle.

The two days of Rosh Hashanah start the "Ten Days of Repentance" which culminate in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement for the sins of the previous year. On Yom Kippur it is believed that each person's fate is sealed for the coming year.

*sometimes spelt Tishrei


Judaism 101: Rosh Hashanah

BBC Multifaith Calendar: Rosh Hashanah

MyJewishLearning: Rosh Hashanah 101

Last edited by Carwen*Angel; September 8th, 2012 at 05:38 AM.
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