Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Rosh Hashanah began at sundown on September 8 and continues for at least one day - but it usually lasts two days. The Jewish words Rosh Hashanah or Rosh Ha-shanah mean Beginning of the Year. This holy day or Jewish New Year is a solemn festival where Jews pray for forgiveness from God, for a good year, and for a long life. Rosh Hashanah usually occurs in September, beginning on the first day of the Jewish month of Tishri. Rosh Hashanah is the first day of the Ten Days of Penitence, which end on Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement. According to Jewish belief, Rosh Hashanah marks the genesis of God's annual judgment of mankind. They believe that God decides at that time who will die during the next year and who will continue to live. Synagogue services are held for Jews on Rosh Hashanah with emphasis on penitence, forgiveness, and judgment. The sound of a shofar (a ram's horn) calls the people to repentance and to awaken Jews to service of God. There are three separate groups of prayers that are recited during Rosh Hashanah. The first group of prayers is to remind people that God rules or controls the world. The second group of prayers is to remind the people that God responds to the call of the shofar. The third group of prayers is to remind people that God remembers the deeds performed. Facts for this post came from an article by Lawrence H.Schiffman in World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 16, pp 482-4823.