Rosh HaShanah 2019, the Jewish New Year 5779 is fast approaching. This festival of hope and happiness is observed for just two sweet days! It occurs on the 1st & 2nd of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, 5779. In the more familiar secular calendar, the Hebrew dates coincide with the sunset of 9th September and end at the nightfall of 11th September 2018. What is Rosh HaShanah and why is it so special to the Jewish people? Rosh HaShanah literally means the ‘Head of the Year” and alludes to the anniversary of the creation of the first man and women, the infamous Adam and Eve! It is a reference to the relationship between the Almighty and humanity. The purpose of Jewish New Year 5779 will be to emphasize the spiritual connection that mankind shares with our Creator. From our mere human viewpoint, we respect the ‘greater power’ for our existence. We express gratitude for our physical form and our spiritual being (the soul). We give thanks for the knowledge instilled within us, which gives us the base for our faith. From a purely spiritual perspective, armed with our unwavering belief, we are duty bound to spread the presence of the Almighty in the physical world. This is the task that he is relying on us mere mortals to achieve! Rosh Hashanah is the time that we proclaim G-d as King of the Universe. It is our belief that by doing so, the divine power will grant the universe continued existence. Perhaps we should then pray for love, peace, and tolerance between all mankind…..Musical blasts of the traditional Shofar (ram’s horn used for religious purposes) represent the trumpets sounding off as in a regal coronation. This is to remind the world that this is the period of time for repentance. Jewish New Year 5779 although a celebratory holiday as every year, is also defined as the anniversary of man’s first sin. It, therefore, serves as the first countdown of the Ten Days of Repentance finishing at Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. In traditional teachings, Rosh HaShanah is also the Day of Judgement, where it is said a record of the destiny of each person for the upcoming year is written in the Book of Life or the Book of Death. But don’t be too worried, the final verdict is not ‘set in stone’ until Yom Kippur, so you have time to atone until then! As each year, Jewish New Year 5779 will arrive baring lots of sweet food accompaniments! One of these is a childhood favorite of mine, dipping crispy tart green apples into sticky golden honey. This represents our wishes for a Sweet New Year, along with the rounded sweet challah bread which symbolizes the circle of time. Each specific symbol of the festival draws us together as a unique family, wherever we are in the world. In Tel Aviv, this Jewish New Year 5779 families and friends will get together to welcome in the Sweet New Year. We shall recite prayers for a long life filled with good health, happiness, and prosperity. We shall say blessings over the key elements of the festive meal. We shall listen to one hundred blasts of the Shofar in the distance. We shall remember those we have loved but who are no longer in our lives. We will indulge in the juicy ruby clusters of jewels hidden inside leathery skinned pomegranates. This ancient seeded fruit with its regal crown has much religious significance for the Jewish people as it does in health benefits! Eaten by the slaves in Egypt, it adorned the clothing of the Cohen’s (high priests) and was engraved on the pillars of the First Temple. It is as much a Jewish symbol as it is an Israeli good food source. On Rosh HaShanah, pomegranates are eaten to epitomize goodness, an abundance of it! It’s traditionally known from our seder school learning that this fruit contains 613 seeds. Each seed equates to a good deed (mitzvah). This means that we are supposed to keep all 613 of them (mitzvot)! It’s a heavy order, but no doubt one we are qualified to conduct throughout our existence.
♥ May your Jewish New Year 5779 be Sweet, Safe & fulfilling. Wishing you all Shanah Tovah!
Times: From sunset, Sunday, 9th September 2018 ending at nightfall on Tuesday, 11th September 2018