Jewish New Year 5781 or Rosh HaShanah 2020, is fast approaching. A festival full of hope and happiness, which is observed for just two sweet days! Jewish New Year 5781 occurs on the 1st & 2nd of the Hebrew month of Tishrei. The Hebrew date coincides with the secular dates of Friday, 18th September until Sunday, 20th September. The festival begins in the evening and ends at nightfall. 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 5781 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 5781 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 5781 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. Due to Covid19 in Israel, this Jewish New Year 5781 only immediate families will be together to welcome in the Sweet New Year. We shall recite all the usual prayers including those for a long life filled with good health, happiness, and prosperity, but in my home another special prayer to free us from this corruptive Coronavirus. This Jewish New Year 5781 we’ll say blessings over the key elements of the festive meal and listen to one hundred blasts of the Shofar in the distance. We’ll remember those we have loved but who are no longer in our lives and 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! On Rosh HaShanah, pomegranates are eaten to epitomize goodness as well as 613 good deeds (or mitzvot) relating to the number of seeds. It’s a heavy order, but no doubt one we are qualified to conduct throughout our existence.
♥ May your Jewish New Year 5781 be Sweet and healthy. Shanah Tovah!
Times: Begins Friday night 18th September End Sunday evening 20th September 2020