Rosh Hashanah

Latest Update News About Rosh Hashanah 2010, Jewish Holidays 2010, Yom Kippur, Jewish New Year, What Is Rosh Hashanah: Now if you’ve searched the Internet at all today, or work in an office in, say, New York City or Los Angeles, you might have noticed two words coming up pretty often: Rosh Hashanah.

Not sure what everyone’s talking about? Maybe I just answered every question you had because you thought everyone was saying Rush A Shunna, which led you to believe that the ’80s band Rush was doing some sort of weird reunion album. If your curiosity has been piqued as to what “Rosh Hashanah” is read on as I answer some key questions about this significant Jewish holiday.

What is Rosh Hashanah?

Rosh Hashanah literally means “head of the year,” and it refers to the Jewish New Year. We don’t ring it in quite like the New Year that’s celebrated on December 31. There’s no ball drop, no excessive drinking (well, there may be excessive drinking, but I don’t need to know your family’s deep, dark secrets), no party hats and no general debauchery. The Jewish calendar is a lunar one, which is why the new year begins around September or October, depending on how the months fell that year.

Wait, that sounds pretty serious. So is the Jewish New Year entirely somber?

Not at all. Even though Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the high holidays and the ten days of repentance leading up to Yom Kippur, it is still a time to wish everyone a “Shana tova” (literally, “good year”) and eat apples and honey, signifying a sweet year to come.

Mmmm, apples and honey sound delicious. What else do you get to eat?

Excellent question, imaginary inquirer! Jewish holidays are definitely celebrated with a lot of great food. On Rosh Hashanah, challah, the braided loaf of bread we eat every Friday night and Saturday for Shabbat, is made into a round shape to symbolize the circle of life. Other common foods eaten on Rosh Hashanah include pomegranates, dates, figs and gefilte fish.

Since I get all of my information from pop culture sites on the Internet, I saw this card that mentioned something about a horn. Are there vuvuzelas in temple?

That card refers to the shofar, which is made out of a ram’s horn. In ancient times, shofars were used to call people to prayer and announce holidays. Despite what this card claims, the shofar does not sound anything like a vuvuzela, although it would be nice to see some World Cup players at services.

Okay, I think I understand what Rosh Hashanah is now, but what’s this Yom Kippur holiday all my friends complain about?

Yom Kippur is still ten days away, people! On this day, we fast to atone for the sins we committed in the past year. And come on, it’s just one day without food! Think of all the people around the world who go without food every day and your fast will seem inconsequential.

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