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Rosh Hashanah, otherwise known as the Jewish New Year, begins this year on the evening of Sunday, Sept. 25 and ends on the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 27 (Hebrew Calendar Year 5783).

What are the main themes of Rosh Hashanah?

There are a few meanings to this High Holy Holiday:

  • The Day of Memorial and Remembrance or Yom ha-Zikaron: A time to remember those who have passed. A time to celebrate the power of memory to unite the present with past generations.
  • The Day of Judgment or Yom ha-Din: God considers the fate of humans in the coming year.
  • The Day of the Blowing of the Shofar (ram’s horn) or Yom Teruah: Involves the blowing of the Shofar (ram’s horn). Rosh Hashanah literally means “head of the new year,” and the blowing of the shofar signifies the call to battle, bringing of good news, the proclaiming of a new moon, and the coronation of a king or a convocation of solemn assembly.

How is Rosh Hashanah celebrated?

There are two days of worship for Rosh Hashanah (one day for Reform Judaism). Jews gather for a festive meal, attend synagogue services, and participate in a ceremony of “casting away sins” in a body of water.

Ten days after Rosh Hashanah is Yom Kippur (evening of Tuesday, Oct. 4 through evening of Wednesday, Oct. 5). The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are called the High Holy Days, the Ten Days of Repentance, or the Days of Awe.

What can I say to my Jewish friends on Rosh Hashanah?

You can say “Shana Tova,” which means “Have a good year.” After Rosh Hashanah, another option would be “Gmar hatima tova,” which means “a good signing/sealing.”

What happens on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur?

On Rosh Hashanah, our fates are written or inscribed in a metaphoric Book of Life. On Yom Kippur, the Book of Life is sealed. (There will be more on Yom Kippur next week).

Leading up to Rosh Hashanah, Jews consider what kind of people they have been in the past year and vow to do better in the year to come. Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Jews practice “teshvuah” — repentance for their sins both with God and with other people.

Want to know more about Jewish faith traditions?

Thank you to Professor Sandi Bisciglia for her support in gathering this information and to Rabbi Dena Feingold and Beth Hillel for always supporting campus ministry at Carthage.

Sponsoring Department, Office, or Organization:

Center for Faith and Spirituality

For more information, contact:

Kara Baylor: