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Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Rosh Hashanah - Happy New Year!
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 Rosh Hashanah, marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year - 5768. Its origin is Biblical (Lev. 23:23-25): "a sacred occasion commemorated with loud blasts [of the shofar, the ram's horn]." The term Rosh Hashanah, "beginning of the year," is rabbinical, as are the themes of the festival: repentance, preparation for the day of Divine judgment and prayer for a fruitful year. The two-day festival, which falls on 1-2 Tishre in the Jewish calendar, began this year at sunset yesterday, September 12, and concludes at sunset on Friday, September 14. Major customs of Rosh Hashanah include the sounding of the shofar in the middle of a lengthy synagogue service that focuses on the festival themes, and elaborate meals at home to inaugurate the new year. The prayer liturgy is augmented with prayers of repentance. In many senses, Israel begins its year on Rosh Hashanah. Felicitations for the new year are generally tendered before Rosh Hashanah. Yom Kippur, eight days after Rosh Hashanah, is the Day of Atonement, of Divine judgment, and of "affliction of souls" (Lev. 23:26-32) so that the individual may be cleansed of sins. The only fast day decreed in the Bible, it is a time to enumerate one's misdeeds and contemplate one's faults. Jewish people are expected, on this day, to pray for forgiveness for sins between man and God and correct his wrongful actions against his fellow man. The country comes to a complete halt for 25 hours on this day. Source: Israeli Embassy
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