Upcoming Date: The Evening of September 18–20, 2020

Rosh Hashanah

Entering The Jewish New Year Through Prayer & Reptentance

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, is when God judges our deeds from the last year and decides 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?

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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.