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History of Rosh Hashanah

History of Rosh Hashanah

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Prayer Service

On Rosh Hashanah day, religious poems, called piyyutim, are added to the regular services. A special prayer book, the mahzor, is used on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (plural mahzorim). A number of additions are made to the regular service, most notably an extended repetition of the Amidah prayer for both Shacharit and Mussaf. The Shofar is blown during Mussaf at several intervals. (In many synagogues, even little children come and hear the Shofar being blown.) Biblical verses are recited at each point. According to the Mishnah, 10 verses (each) are said regarding kingship, remembrance, and the shofar itself, each accompanied by the blowing of the shofar. A variety of piyyutim, medieval penitential prayers, are recited regarding themes of repentance. The Alenu prayer is recited during the repetition of the Mussaf Amidah.

The Mussaf Amidah prayer on Rosh Hashanah is unique in that apart from the first and last 3 blessings, it contains 3 central blessings making a total of 9. These blessings are entitled “Malchuyot” (Kingship, and also includes the blessing for the holiness of the day as is in a normal Mussaf), “Zichronot” (Remembrance) and “Shofarot” (concerning the Shofar). Each section contains an introductory paragraph followed by selections of verses about the “topic”. The verses are 3 from the Torah, 3 from the Ketuvim, 3 from the Nevi’im, and one more from the Torah. During the repetition of the Amidah, the Shofar is sounded (except on Shabbat) after the blessing that ends each section.

In the Jewish diaspora—Jewish communities outside of Israel—an extra day is usually added to religious observances, with the exception of Yom Kippur, which lasts only one day worldwide, and Rosh Hashana, which is celebrated over two days in both Israel and the diaspora.

This custom has its roots in ancient times when the beginning of the months in the Jewish calendar still relied on the sighting of the crescent Moon following a New Moon.

The beginning of a new month was determined by the Sanhedrin, the supreme court of ancient Israel in Jerusalem. Once the date was published, messengers were dispatched to spread the news among Jews living abroad. Since this process took some time, it was decreed that Jews outside of ancient Israel were to observe every holiday for 2 days to make sure that the rules and customs applicable to each holiday were observed on the proper date. This rule is still observed today.

History of Rosh Hashanah - HISTORY

The "Feasts of the Lord" discussed in Leviticus 23 reveal consistent themes and patterns associated with the specific "Feast" events. The Jewish calendar is a 360-day Solar-Lunar calendar that has existed for centuries. What this means is that a given "Feast" day such as Passover does not occur on the same Roman 365-day calendar date like, as an example, our Fourth of July. Actually, a number of factors determines when the Feast Days of the Lord are to be observed. According to the Bible, all the Feast Days are first determined by the spring ripening of the Barley, the term is called "The Barley is in Aviv". It is the basic fact that determines when Passover will be observed, and subsequently, all other "Feasts of the Lord".

According to the Torah, (Deuteronomy 16:1 Exodus 13:4 23:15 and 34:18 "Pesach" (Passover) MUST occur in the month of Aviv. Furthermore, Exodus 12:2 says that the month in which Passover occurs is declared the first month of the year. Another factor determining the new year is that of the equinox. The full details of this topic are very lengthy but suffice for our focus here, just remember, that Passover is determined by the state of ripeness for the barley harvest. When the rabbis determine the date for Passover, every succeeding Feast or Festival then follows a prescribed pattern based upon the lunar-solar factors. This is why some years have a 13th month inserted to balance the calendar with the Western Solar calendar which Christians and Gentiles observe. This happens every three or four years, to adjust for our Roman 365-1/4 day year.

This issue that I have just discussed is what makes the occurrence of events on the Biblical calendar to be of such significance, such as the infamous day or omen called the 9th of Av. Terrible things have occurred on the 9th of Av over the centuries and Biblical Jews today observe the day as a day of mourning. The moon has a much greater importance in Jewish faith and practice than it does for non-Jews.

In the following forty+ items below, all took place on or are associated with the date of Tishri 1, or the Feast of Trumpets or Rosh HaShanah. Documents referenced appears to the right where possible. Those references are either from the Bible, or Jewish sacred works.

Tishri 1 Moon in the constellation of Bethulah.
New Moon. Numbers 10:8-10.
Yom Teruah (Rosh HaShanah). Leviticus 23:24.
The month of the strong - 1st kings 8:2.
The new year for Kings begins. Mishna: Seder Moed: Tractate Rosh HaShanah: 1:1.
The Awesome Days / Yamin Noraim, day 1.
Period of Teshuvah / repentance day 30.
Adam and Eve are created, it is the sixth day. Sanhedrin 38b.
Cain and Abel and three twin sister are born. Beresshit Rabbah 22.
Noah's birthday. 1st day of the 1st month, 1056 AM (ATB, pg.307). Genesis 8:13 (Seder Olam Radak).
Noah has dry land. Noah removes the cover of the ark and dispatches the dove. Genesis 8:5 8:13. Rashi.
HaSatan stands before HaShem to accuse Job. Job 1:6, Targum Jerus.
Rebecca and Leah are rememberd. (Tanhuma, Vayera).
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were born.
Sarah conceived Isaac. Yevamot 64b).
Rachel conceives Joseph. Genesis 30:22ffis read (Rosh HaShanah 10b) Yevamot 64.
Pharaoh's cup bearer and baker have dreams related to their judgment. Oznaim L'Torah, Rosh HaShanah 10a.
Joseph was released from prison. Rosh HaShanah 10b-11a.
Pharaoh freed the Israelites from Slavery. Rosh HaShanah 11a.
Plague of wild beasts begins (Plague number 4). Exodus 8:24. Zihron Yemot Olam.
Moses goes up to Mount Sinai, the third time, to get the second set of stone tablets to spend forty days - day 30. Exodus 34:1.
Hannah conceives Samuel. Yevamot 64. 1st Samuel 1:2-10.
Nabal refuses to feed David's men. Abigal did feed them. 1st Samuel 25:1-35.
David is forgiven after sinning with Bathsheba. Shabbat 56a.
Elisha prophesied the birth of a son to the Shunamite. 2nd Kings 4:16. Zohar. Be-Shallah.
Daniel 7:9-14 took place on this day. (seated for judgment). Joseph Good.
Daniel sees a vision of judgment. Daniel 7:9-10.
Zerubbabel brought the first offering on the new altar in Jerusalem in 538 BC, Nehemiah 8:2.
Daily sacrifice restored by Zerrubbabel. Talmud Zevachim 62a.
Ezra begins to read the law to the people in 444 BC. Nehemiah 8:2.
Revelation 4:1-4 took place on this day (seated for judgment). Joseph Good.
Burnt offerings begin before Ezra's foundation. Ezra 3:6.
Herod slays the children trying to kill Yeshua. Matthew 2:13-23(see the halftorah for the second day.).
John the Baptizer wants to know if Yeshua is the "expected" One, after raising the widow's son. Luke 7:11-35.
Judgment of the righteous. Revelation 20:4-6.
The resurrection of the righteous. 1st Thessalonians 4:16-17, 1st Corinthians 15:51-57.
Remembrance of the fathers. Revelation 21:12-14.
Coronation of the King. Revelation 11:15-18.
"The Day of the Lord" begins on this day. Zephaniah 1:14, 16.
The revelation of Yeshua took place on this day. Revelation 1:9-11.
Torah section for the first day is Genesis 21:1-34, Numbers 29:1-6. Haftorah is 1st Samuel 1:1-2:10.
Torah section for the second day is Genesis 22:1-24 Numbers 29:1-6. Halftorah is Jeremiah 31:1-19.

Because the Feast of Trumpets is observed as a two-day or (one long day) there are events associated with day two, which are as follows:

Period of Teshuvah / repentance day 31.
The Awesome Days / Yamin Noraim, day 2.
God blesses the seventh day and sanctifies it because He rested from all the work of creating. Genesis 2:3. Sanhedrin 38b.
Moses goes up to Mount Sinai, the third time, to get the second set of stone tablets to spend forty days - day 31. Exodus 34:1.
The letters engraved on law tablets were created at dusk on the eve of the first Sabbath. Pirkkei De-Rabbi Eliezer 19.
Ezra celebrates the second day of Yom Teruah by reading the law again. Nehemiah 8:13.

The reader will not understand all of these, nor necessarily the implications of each. The point of this list is to identify the events, recorded by Hebrew and Jewish scholars down through the centuries. From my familiarity with many of the items listed, there are extensive writings and specifics concerning each historical event, fact, their meanings or lessons, etc. Every item either took place on Rosh HaShanah/Feast of Trumpets, precisely or are connected by definition. That fact is most significant because in any given year, Rosh HaShanah/Feast of Trumpets occurred on a different calendar day of our Western Solar calendar. As an example, here is when Rosh HaShanah fell or falls on our calendar for the years 2013 through 2017:

2013 September 4th (at sundown) to the 6th.
2014 September 24th (at sundown) to the 26th.
2015 September 13th (at sundown) to the 15th.
2016 October 2nd (at sundown) to the 4th.
2017 September 20th (at sundown) to the 22nd.

These are the astronomically calculated dates based upon the Lunar-Solar calendar dates calculated by Jewish rabbinical authorities.

I am entering this into my computer at 6:47 PM E.D.T. In Israel it is 1:47 AM or five hours different. Israel does operates under Daylight Savings Time. Hypothetically, if the Pre-Tribulation Rapture occurs at midnight Jerusalem time, September 25th, in the USA it will be 5 PM E.D.T., 4 PM C.D.T., 3 PM M.S.T., and 2 PM Pacific Daylight Time. For various reasons, related to the Bible, it has been my belief that the Messiah will come at Midnight in Jerusalem. There are 15 occasions where "Midnight" is very significant in the Bible, such as Matthew 25:6: "And at midnight there was a cry made. Behold, the bridegroom cometh go ye out to meet him."

Contrary to the wags at the "Pre-Wrath-Rapture-Babble" site, nothing has to happen before the Rapture

They like the rest of the 90% of the Church do not have an inkling of what "The Theme of the Bride" and the "Feasts of the Lord" - in particular, the "Feast of Trumpets" are all about. They are believers in that Satanic "Replacement" theology where the promises of Israel were appropriated and claimed for the Church. They will keep broadcasting the 'Omega Shock Letter' babble on their billboard and beat you to death with the rants of a deluded soul and continue to lead others astray. As we go into the last weeks leading up to Rosh HaShanah, we want to remain confident that God did not lie, and that He laid out His Master Plan for those with eyes to see and ears to hear. Not a single one of my posts "cherry-picks" the Scripture. They all confirm God's Great Plan of Redeeming us from the Seven Year Tribulation. Not because we deserve it, but because we have trusted Christ Jesus for our destiny. Its unmerited Grace, but that is why its called Grace - God's Riches At Christ's Expense!

History And Origin Of Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah history, or the origin of Rosh Hashanah, begins with the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible, where it is written that G-d says: "Speak to B'nei Yisrael ("the House of Israel" in Hebrew, referring to the Hebrew people), saying, 'In the seventh month, on the first of the month, shall be for you a (day of) rest, a remembrance of the sounding (of the shofar), a holy convocation'" (Vayikra 23:23-25 or Leviticus 23:23-25).

Until the Babylonian Exile of the Jews who lived in the Kingdom of Judah in either 587 B.C.E. or 586 B.C.E. (these are the secular scholarly dates Jewish religious scholars date the Babylonian Exile at either 423 B.C.E., 422 B.C.E., 421 B.C.E., or 420 B.C.E.), the Hebrews/Jews had four different New Years, the New Year For Kings, Festivals, and Months (1st day of the Hebrew/Jewish month of Nissan or Nisan this is the date from which a king counted the years of his reign this is also the date when the cycle of Hebrew/Jewish festivals began, and this is also the date when the months in the Hebrew/Jewish calendar began to be counted), the New Year For Tithing Animals (specifically, flocks and herds, in which a tenth of one's flock and herd of cattle were tithed or donated to the kohanim I.E. priests and Levites I.E. the assistants to the priests), the New Year For Trees (in which tithes of the fruits of trees were set aside for the priests and Levites, and the planting of new trees was performed on this day), and the New Year For Years (the date when the year number increases in the Hebrew/Jewish calendar as well as being the date for the Creation of the world and of Adam). After the Babylonian Exile, only the New Year For Trees (known in Hebrew as "Tu B'Shevat", "Tu Bi Shevat", or "Tu Be Shevat", literally meaning "15 Shevat", or the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month of Shevat, the day of the New Year For Trees) and the New Year For Years were commemorated. The New Year For Years, also known as Rosh Hashanah, literally meaning "Head of the Year" in Hebrew, refers to the first day of Rosh Hashanah being the "head" or beginning or starting point for the new year. Since Rosh Hashanah is the day of the Creation of the World and of Adam, on this day every year G-d "takes stock" of Creation and everything and everyone in it, so just as the head on one's body directs the rest of the body, so too does the judgements of G-d on Rosh Hashanah direct the events on every day of the new year. Also, just as the body needs the brain in one's head to function properly, time also has its "head" in that Rosh Hashanah is the "head" of the year. Like the brain being the nerve-center of the entire body, Rosh Hashanah is the nerve-center of time and the Hebrew/Jewish calendar. While it only consists of a small segment in the time-cycle, its effect over the coming year can be enormous and immeasurable just as a small glitch in the brain can have a huge impact on the entire body, any lapses and deviations on Rosh Hashanah can result in major harm to us and our life for the remainder of the year.

Rosh Hashanah History And Origin : From One To Two Days

Originally, Rosh Hashanah was a one-day holiday that was connected to the command by G-d in Vayikra 23:23-25 or Leviticus 23:23-25 ("Vayikra" or "Vayikrah" is simply the Hebrew word for "Leviticus") to observe a one-day holiday on the first day of the seventh month in the Hebrew/Jewish calendar, and was not known as Rosh Hashanah, but rather, "Yom Teruah" ("Day of Sounding the Shofar or Ram's Horn" in Hebrew) and "Zikaron Teruah" or "Zikkaron Teruah" ("Day of Remembering the Sounding of the Shofar or Ram's Horn" in Hebrew). In fact, the name Rosh Hashanah came later in Mishnaic times, about 10 B.C.E. until about 200 C.E. or 220 C.E., when the Mishnah of the Talmud was compiled and codified. So how did Rosh Hashanah extend to two days? During the time of Rabban (Rabbi) Yohanan ben Zakkai (circa 1 C.E. - 80 C.E.) of the region of Judea/Israel, who was an important Jewish Sage and a disciple of the great Rabbi Hillel, Rosh Hashanah became a two-day holiday. The major reason for the extension of Rosh Hashanah from one day to two days derives from the methods that were used at that time by the Jewish Sages of the Sanhedrin or Jewish "Supreme Court" and legislative body in Jerusalem to determine a new month. These methods resulted in the new month beginning either on the 30th and final day of the previous month or on the 31st day of the previous month. If the new month was determined on the 30th day of the previous month through confirming astronomical observations which were based on two reliable and independent witnesses arriving at the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem to report sighting the first crescent of the new moon to the Sages by the 30th day of the previous month as well as through mathematical calculations done by the Sages, then the 30th day of the previous month was transformed to become the first day of the new month, and the 29th day of the previous month automatically became the final day of the previous month. If the witnesses did not arrive by the 30th day of the previous month or had reports that were determined to be unreliable, then the 30th day of the previous month became the final day of the previous month and the next day or 31st day became the first day of the new month. This is why Rosh Hashanah for a given year could begin on either the 30th day of the previous month and extend to the 1st day of the new month or occur on the 1st day of the new month and extend to the 2nd day of the new month. On the 30th day of the previous month, since no could definitely determine whether or not the 30th day would wind up being the first day of the new month or the final day of the previous month, the Sages of the Sanhedrin declared that Rosh Hashanah be observed as a two-day holiday to ensure that the holiday would be commemorated by all Jews, both inside and outside Israel. This declaration translated into Rosh Hashanah occurring on either the 30th day of the previous month (specifically, the sixth month in the Hebrew/Jewish calendar, known as Elul) and extending to the 1st day of the new month (the seventh month in the Hebrew/Jewish calendar, known as either Tishri or Tishrei the months are counted beginning from the first day of the month of Nissan or Nisan, but the years are counted beginning from the first day of the month of Tishri or Tishrei), or beginning on the first day of Tishri or Tishrei and extending to the second day of Tishri or Tishrei. The custom developed among all Jews to commemorate Rosh Hashanah on the 1st day and 2nd day of Tishri or Tishrei. To ensure that all Jews would be united in celebrating Rosh Hashanah at the same time around the world, since there are different time zones where after 24 hours, some Jews will have finished celebrating Rosh Hashanah while others woul still be celebrating Rosh Hashanah if Rosh Hashanah was only celebrated for 24 hours, Rosh Hashanah was declared by the rabbis to be "Yoma Arichta" or "Yoma Arichtah" ["a (single) long day" in Aramaic] of 48 hours. Today, Orthodox Jews and Conservative Jewss celebrate Rosh Hashanah for two days in addition to some Reform Jews and Reconstructionist Jews, while other Reform Jews and Reconstructionist Jews celebrate Rosh Hashanah for just one day. Now you know the history and origin of Rosh Hashanah and its extension from it being a one-day holiday to it being a two-day holiday as well as which Jews celebrate it for one day and which Jews celebrate it for two days! You will, from this moment on, never be caught off guard when a person asks you about this!

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Mao Zedong, Probiotics, and the History of Rosh Hashanah—In The News 9/10/18

The Terrible Tragedy of 9/11
September 11 marks the date of one of the most catastrophic and heartbreaking attacks on U.S. soil in history. With almost 3,000 fatalities and $10 billion in damage, the events of 9/11 continue to influence us even today. Relive the timeline and review the influence the terrorist attack has had on our ideas of security, politics, and world relations.

The Making of a Judge
The confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court nominee, Brett M. Kavanaugh, have uncovered very few distinct points of view on his opinions when it comes to controversial issues such as abortion and the current investigation surrounding President Trump. Take a deep dive into two landmark Supreme Court cases: Roe v. Wade and the Watergate tapes case of Nixon v. United States to see why these issues matter.

L’Shanah Tovah
Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) began at sunset on Sunday, Sept. 9 and ends at nightfall on Tuesday, Sept. 11. This is one of the most important holidays in the Jewish calendar and is packed with mitzvahs, special foods, and traditions. Yom Kippur—the Day of Atonement—marks the culmination of the 10 Days of Awe, a period of introspection and repentance that follows Rosh Hashanah. Learn more about the lunisolar calendar and why it is so important in the Jewish tradition.

Bell of the Ball
Jocelyn Bell Burnell was famously excluded from the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics after discovering pulsars in the 1960s. Her thesis advisor, Anthony Hewish, was credited and awarded the prize for the discovery of the first pulsars, sharing the honor with fellow astronomer, Martin Ryle. Now, more than 30 years later, at the age of 75, Bell Burnell has been awarded a $3 million Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. She will use the prize money to set up a special scholarship fund to counter “unconscious bias” in the physics community. Uncover exactly what these pulsars are and what part Bell Burnell played in this discovery.

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State of Our Nation
On Sept. 9, 1776, the Continental Congress formally changed the name of our nation to the “United States of America” rather than “The United Colonies”. Virginian Richard Henry Lee wrote, “Resolved, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states.” Look back at the events that led to the formation of our country.

The Lasting Legacy of Mao
On Sept. 9, 1976, at the age of 82, Mao Zedong died from complications of Parkinson’s disease in Beijing, China. Review the complex and contradictory figure of Mao, key events of his early life, and his revolutionary embrace of violence and ruthlessness.


"Rosh" is the Hebrew word for "head", "ha" is the definite article ("the"), and "shanah" means year. Thus "Rosh HaShanah" means 'head [of] the year', referring to the Jewish day of new year. [2] [3]

In the Jewish prayer-books (i.e., the Siddur and Machzor), Rosh Hashanah is also called Yom Hazikaron (the day of remembrance), [3] not to be confused with the modern Israeli remembrance day of the same name.

Rosh Hashanah marks the start of a new year in the Hebrew calendar (one of four "new year" observances that define various legal "years" for different purposes as explained in the Mishnah and Talmud). [3] It is the new year for people, animals, and legal contracts. The Mishnah also sets this day aside as the new year for calculating calendar years, shmita and yovel years. Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of Man. [7]

The origin of the Hebrew New Year is connected to the beginning of the economic year in the agricultural societies of the ancient Near East. [8] The New Year was the beginning of the cycle of sowing, growth, and harvest the harvest was marked by its own set of major agricultural festivals. [8] The Semites generally set the beginning of the new year in autumn, while other ancient civilizations chose spring for that purpose, such as the Persians or Greeks the primary reason was agricultural in both cases, the time of sowing the seed and bringing in the harvest. [8]

In Jewish law, four major New Years are observed, each one marking a beginning of sorts. The lunar month Nisan (usually corresponding to the months March–April in the Gregorian calendar) is when a new year is added to the reign of Jewish kings, and it marks the start of the year for the three Jewish pilgrimages. [9] Its injunction is expressly stated in the Hebrew Bible: "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months" (Exo. 12:2). However, ordinary years, Sabbatical years, Jubilees, and dates inscribed on legal deeds and contracts are reckoned differently such years begin on the first day of the lunar month Tishri (usually corresponding to the months September–October in the Gregorian calendar). Their injunction is expressly stated in the Hebrew Bible: "Three times in the year you shall keep a feast unto me… the feast of unleavened bread (Passover)… the feast of harvest (Shavuot)… and the feast of ingathering (Sukkot) which is at the departing of the year" (Exo. 23:14–16). "At the departing of the year" implies that the new year begins here. [10]

The reckoning of Tishri as the beginning of the Jewish year began with the early Egyptians and was preserved by the Hebrew nation, [11] being also alluded to in the Hebrew Bible (Genesis 7:11) when describing the Great Deluge at the time of Noah. This began during the "second month" (Marheshvan) counting from Tishri, a view that has largely been accepted by the Sages of Israel. [12]

The Mishnah contains the second known reference to Rosh Hashanah as the "day of judgment" (Yom haDin). [13] In the Talmud tractate on Rosh Hashanah, it states that three books of account are opened on Rosh Hashanah, wherein the fate of the wicked, the righteous, and those of the intermediate class are recorded. The names of the righteous are immediately inscribed in the book of life and they are sealed "to live". The intermediate class is allowed a respite of ten days, until Yom Kippur, to reflect, repent and become righteous [14] the wicked are "blotted out of the book of the living forever". [15]

Some midrashic descriptions depict God as sitting upon a throne, while books containing the deeds of all humanity are opened for review, and each person passes in front of Him for evaluation of his or her deeds. [16]

"The Holy One said, 'on Rosh Hashanah recite before Me [verses of] Sovereignty, Remembrance, and Shofar blasts (malchiyot, zichronot, shofrot): Sovereignty so that you should make Me your King Remembrance so that your remembrance should rise up before Me. And through what? Through the Shofar.' (Rosh Hashanah 16a, 34b)" [17]

This is reflected in the prayers composed by classical rabbinic sages for Rosh Hashanah found in traditional Ashkenazi machzorim where the theme of the prayers is the "coronation" of God as King of the universe, in preparation for the acceptance of judgments that will follow on that day.

Rosh Hashanah 2020

Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the year according to the traditional Jewish calendar. In 2020, Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset on Friday, September 18. Learn more about how Rosh Hashanah is celebrated with traditions and sweet symbolic foods—and listen to the sound of the shofar!

What Is Rosh Hashanah?

Rosh Hashanah, literally “Head of the Year” in Hebrew, is the beginning of the Jewish new year. It is the first of the High Holidays or “Days of Awe,” ending 10 days later with Yom Kippur.

This two-day festival marks the anniversary of human’s creation—and the special relationship between humans and God, the creator.

Rosh Hashanah begins with the sounding of the shofar, an instrument made of a ram’s horn, proclaiming God as King of the Universe, just as a trumpet would be sounded at a king’s coronation. In fact, Rosh Hashanah is described in the Torah as Yom Teru’ah, a day of sounding (the Shofar).

The sound of the shofar is also a call to repentance—to wake up and re-examine our commitment to God and to correct our ways. Thus begins the “Ten Days of Repentance” which ends with Yom Kippur, the “Day of Atonement.”

When Is Rosh Hashanah?

In 2020, Rosh Hashanah starts on Friday, September 18, and will run through September 20.

Note that the Jewish calendar is different than today’s civil calendar (the Gregorian calendar). It is a “Luni-Solar” calendar, established by the cycles of the Moon and the Sun, so the lengths of days vary by the season, controlled by the times of sunset, nightfall, dawn, and sunrise. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, occurs on the first two days of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar.

All Jewish holidays begin at sundown on the date listed.

Rosh Hashanah Dates

Artist: Suzzi Glaser

Rosh Hashanah Traditions

The traditional way to wish someone a Happy New Year in Hebrew is by saying ‘Shana Tova’. In Hebrew this means ‘A Good Year’.

There are many traditions associated with Rosh Hashanah, including the following:

  • Attending synagogue and spending time with family and friends.
  • Reflecting on the year before and repenting for any wrongdoings and then reflecting on the year ahead to start afresh.
  • Wear white and new clothes, symbolizing purity.
  • As mentioned above, there is the sounding of the ram’s horn (shofar) on both mornings.

If you’re wondering what a shofar sounds like, take a listen below.

  • Every evening, candles are lit. Candles are often a symbol of remembrance.
  • On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the Tashlich ceremony is performed. This involves visiting a body of fresh water to symbolically cast past sins away.
  • Spicy, sharp, or sour foods are avoided in favor of sweet delicacies, representing wishes for a sweet and pleasant year (not a bitter year). Nuts are also avoided.

Rosh Hashanah Foods

Food plays a large role in Rosh Hashanah tradition. Some of the symbolic foods include:

  • Apples dipped in honey (eaten on the first night)
  • Round challah (egg bread) dipped in honey and sprinkled with raisins. Try our delicious challah recipe.
  • A new seasonal fruit (on the second night).
  • Pomegranates (as its many seeds symbolize the hope that the year will be rich with many blessings).
  • The head of a fish (or ram) asking God that in the coming year we be “a head and not a tail.”

Rosh Hashanah Poem

The New Year, Rosh-Hashanah, 5643

Not while the snow-shroud round dead earth is rolled,
And naked branches point to frozen skies.—
When orchards burn their lamps of fiery gold,
The grape glows like a jewel, and the corn
A sea of beauty and abundance lies,
Then the new year is born.

Look where the mother of the months uplifts
In the green clearness of the unsunned West,
Her ivory horn of plenty, dropping gifts,
Cool, harvest-feeding dews, fine-winnowed light
Tired labor with fruition, joy and rest
Profusely to requite.

Blow, Israel, the sacred cornet! Call
Back to thy courts whatever faint heart throb
With thine ancestral blood, thy need craves all.
The red, dark year is dead, the year just born
Leads on from anguish wrought by priest and mob,
To what undreamed-of morn?

For never yet, since on the holy height,
The Temple’s marble walls of white and green
Carved like the sea-waves, fell, and the world’s light
Went out in darkness,—never was the year
Greater with portent and with promise seen,
Than this eve now and here.

Even as the Prophet promised, so your tent
Hath been enlarged unto earth’s farthest rim.
To snow-capped Sierras from vast steppes ye went,
Through fire and blood and tempest-tossing wave,
For freedom to proclaim and worship Him,
Mighty to slay and save.

High above flood and fire ye held the scroll,
Out of the depths ye published still the Word.
No bodily pang had power to swerve your soul:
Ye, in a cynic age of crumbling faiths,
Lived to bear witness to the living Lord,
Or died a thousand deaths.

In two divided streams the exiles part,
One rolling homeward to its ancient source,
One rushing sunward with fresh will, new heart.
By each the truth is spread, the law unfurled,
Each separate soul contains the nation’s force,
And both embrace the world.

Kindle the silver candle’s seven rays,
Offer the first fruits of the clustered bowers,
The garnered spoil of bees. With prayer and praise
Rejoice that once more tried, once more we prove
How strength of supreme suffering still is ours
For Truth and Law and Love

Happy Rosh Hashanah! Images of Jewish New Years’ past

Rosh Hashanah is here — the first of Tishrei, year 5775. Presented here are a selection of photographs from the Library of Congress depicting Jewish New Yorkers celebrating the new year (or, at least, on their way home to start the festivities). These images date from 1909-1915, although most are 1912. As most of these photographs were possibly taken (or labeled) by non-Jewish photographers, some of the meaning is a little lost. If you have any insights into these images, please leave a comment!

And there’s some detective work to be done here. For instance, anyone recognize this synagogue?

One hundred years ago, Jewish New Year celebrations were especially fraught due to the events in Europe. Ethnics groups from embattled countries, in fear their rituals made them targets for local violence, made doubly sure to distance themselves for the politics of the day, while affirming their continuing connection to their Jewish brethren.

A leader of the reformed Jewish congregation proclaimed, “The conservative and patriotic citizenship of America refrains from endorsing the attitude of any country involved in the horrible European conflict. … [O]ur hearts go out to the 300,000 men in the Russian army who, having bled and suffered at the hands of their country on account of being Jews, are now suffering and dying for their country because as Jews they are loyal to the flag under which they live.” [source]

This one is dated September 1912 although there was not a “Jewish New Year Parade” and this is hardly an image of a parade anyway!

There appear to be a series of old Rosh Hashanah photographs focusing on boot blacks polishing the shoes of young ladies. I doubt this was an actual custom but more a recognition of the fact that many young boot blacks came from Jewish families. (However, for Passover, people leave their shoes at the door.)

The smile of the girl at center is totally making my day:

Here’s a telling detail from 1914: New Jersey decided to hold a statewide primary election on the same day as Rosh Hashanah that year, disenfranchising thousands of Jewish voters “who are prohibited from signing their name.” Registering to vote was quite different back in the day luckily, there was an alternate date provided that fell before the holiday, but no attempts were made to actually move election day. [source]

Then there’s this captivating image:

So what’s going on in the picture above, taken on the Williamsburg Bridge in 1909? Per some commentary from a Library of Congress commenter: “If this was photo was indeed taken around Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) as the notation implies then these people are most likely taking part in a “tashlich” ceremony. The ceremony is when the previous year’s sins are symbolically “cast off” by throwing pieces of bread into a flowing body of water.”

And finally here’s some rather imaginative Jewish New Year postcards that were manufactured by the Williamsburg Art Company sometime in the 1920s. While the company was located in Brooklyn, all of these were actually manufactured in Germany.

Watch the video: Understanding Feast of Trumpets or Rosh Hashanah (August 2022).