On the evening of Wednesday, September 20th begins the start of the Jewish New Year, which is 5778. At the temples and synagogues people will be wishing each other a Happy New Year (L’Shana Tova-is the customary way to wish someone who is Jewish a Happy New Year!).
Rosh Hashanah is a two-day celebration, which begins on the first day of Tishrei. Tishrei is the first month of the Jewish civil year, but the seventh month of the ecclesiastical year.
Rosh Hashanah customs include sounding the shofar (a hollowed-out ram’s horn), as prescribed in the Torah, following the prescription of the Hebrew Bible to “raise a noise” on Yom Teruah; and among its rabbinical customs is attending synagogue services and reciting special liturgy about teshuva, as also enjoying festive meals. Eating symbolic foods such as apples dipped in honey is now a tradition, hoping thereby to evoke a “sweet new year”.
Rosh Hashanah meals usually include apples dipped in honey to symbolize a sweet new year. Other foods with a symbolic meaning may be served, depending on local minhag (“custom”), such as the head of a fish (to symbolize the prayer “let us be the head and not the tail”).
In the Be’er Hagolah Institute, Rabbi Fishman said that each of the classes will be learning different aspects of the holiday and how to celebrate the Jewish New Year.
There will be a Rosh Hashanaha assembly where the students will be hearing about the different concepts of Rosh Hashanah and then they will have a fun lunch with a snack. Then the students will be creating a “Shana Tova” apple shaped magnetic picture frame. This is sure to be a fun activity for the kids to be participating in.
Be’er Hagolah Institute students will be learning to make a honey dish and/or “Shana Tova” cards in some of their classes.
The teachers will be reviewing with the students the different foods that are eaten and what they symbolize and why they are important and significant to be eaten during this holiday.
It is customary to hear the shofar blown during Rosh Hashanah and the students will be allowed to explore a shofar.
Shortly after Rosh Hashana, the students will be taking a trip to Rockaway Beach to perform Tashlich. Tashlich comes from the Hebrew word meaning “to cast,” referring to the intent to cast away our sins via this meaningful and ancient Jewish custom. Tashlich is usually performed on the first day of Rosh Hashanah. If the first day of Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbat, Tashlich is done on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. Special verses are recited next to a body of water, such as a sea, river, stream, lake or pond, preferably one that has fish (though when no such body of water was available, some rabbis were known to do Tashlich next to a well, even one that dried up, or next to a bucket of water).
L’Shana Tova to all who are celebrating!