This holiday will be observed on September 29, 2019 - October 01, 2019

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, is when God judges our deeds from the last year and seals our fates for the next. We enter into intense repentance, but the heavy themes can be overwhelming. How can we reconnect with God for the coming year?



Why do we mourn the murder of Gedaliah Ben Achikam? Of all the grand Biblical characters we know, what was so special about this man's death, that we are instructed to remember it for eternity?


Rosh Hashanah starts ten days of repentance that culminate with the holiday of Yom Kippur. How can we truly achieve atonement for our sins by the time we arrive at Yom Kippur?

About Rosh Hashanah

A new year, a new start. The Talmud states that on Rosh HaShanah, God judges our deeds from the past year, and records our future fates for the coming year. Rosh Hashanah also starts the “Ten Days of Repentance” which culminate with Yom Kippur.

The holiday of Rosh HaShanah bears many titles. In the Torah, it is referred to as “Yom Teru’ah,” a day of shofar blasts. In Rabbinic sources, it is referred to as “Yom haDin,” the day of judgement; “Yom haZikaron,” the day of remembrance; and of course, “Rosh HaShanah” – the beginning of the year. In line with these characterizations, Rosh HaShanah is generally celebrated with a sense of awe and humility, and the majority of the holiday is spent in intense prayer.

The prayer services include the sections Malchuyot, Zichronot and Shofarot, which discuss God’s kingship, God’s remembrance of His creations, and the symbolism of the Shofar, respectively. They also include many passages that discuss God’s judgement, including the sobering U’Netaneh Tokef. The shofar is also blown one hundred times during the prayer service.

Rosh HaShanah can seem overwhelming at first. It deals with very lofty and heavy themes, themes that many of us struggle to connect with. Aleph Beta goes in search of how can connect to Rosh HaShanah, and find relevance in a modern context.