Sunday, September 28, 2008

Rosh Hashanah

Shana tova. This traditional Hebrew or Jewish greeting is an expression of the Jewish New Year or Rosh Hashanah (ראש השנה).

Rosh Hashanah

Touro University is a smaller branch of the larger Touro College and as such holds true to its Jewish history. As Jewish men and women come together to celebrate this new beginning, I thought it would be appropriate to understand the significance of this important day in Jewish culture. Touro institutions give their students vacation time during this time of Holy Holidays, or
Yamim Noraim, which is considered one of the most important holidays.

Rosh Hashanah is considered as sacred as the Shabbat and is therefore a day of rest. The shofar, a trumpet made from a ram's horn, is sounded to wake those who "slumber" and alert them to their impending judgment. Symbolically, prayers are offered near moving bodies of water where bread or pebbles are thrown to signify one's sins being "cast off." From the first day of Rosh Hashanah, individuals are given ten days to repent and leave their sins behind before the arrival of Yom Kippur when names are written into the book of life or are "blotted out of the book of the living."

Similarly, traditional Jewish foods characterize this sacred holiday. As a "sweet" new year is expected, apples, honey and pomegranates are commonly served. Recipes include meats from the head of animals are used symbolically as Rosh Hashanah is literally translated to mean "head of the year." Challah, a round bread, represents the cycle of the year. Other typically Mediterranean foods are served such as dates, gourds and beans.

Though I am sure many students will use this three day vacation to catch up on their studies, it is great to know why we have the time off in the first place. This respite to a hectic life certainly plays a significant role in global appreciation.

Ketiva ve-chatima tovah,
"May You Be Written and Sealed for a Good Year."

1 comment:

  1. Happy Rosh Hashanah to to all, and to all a good Challah!


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