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The Jewish Holy Days: Part II
By Jerry Katz - December 15, 2008


Photo: Howard Sandler
The Jewish year begins in the fall with the celebration of the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashanah (“Head of the Year”) is the official Jewish New Year’s Day and is celebrated on the first and second day of the Jewish month of Tishrei, from mid-September to the beginning of October. Rosh Hashanah is considered by Jews to be the day when HaShem was enthroned over the world of man. It is the first day of the High Holy Days and the beginning of 10 days of repentance leading up to Yom Kippur.

It begins with the blowing of a ram’s horn in the synagogue or temple called a “shofar" which announces the coming of the new year and according to various traditions has been used to mark a new king ascending his throne, the Binding of Isaac (Genesis, 22) and of receiving the Ten Commandments (Exodus, 19). Another of the common traditions include standing by a river, lake or the sea on that day and throwing bread into the water to symbolize casting off one’s sins.

Foods of significance on Rosh Hashanah might include an apple with honey for a sweet new year, pomegranate to hope for as many blessings as seeds, and fish heads to symbolize leading instead of trailing behind.

Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur, the “Day of Atonement” is the most solemn day in Judaism. It is the day that Jews must pray for forgiveness for their sins of the past year and ask for blessings for the year to come. It is celebrated at the end of September or mid-October on the 10th day of the Jewish month of Tishrei. Yom Kippur's date is believed to define the day that Moses received the Tables of the Covenant on Mount Sinai.
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