Rosh Hashanah

Data/Images/rosh_hashanah_s.jpgThe first of the High Holidays or Yamim Noraim ("Days of Awe"), celebrated ten days before Yom Kippur is Rosh Hashanah (Hebrew: ראש השנה‎,("head of the year")) the Jewish New Year. In the Torah is described as "Zikaron Terua" ("remembrance of the blowing of the horn").

Rosh Hashanah marks the start of a New Year in the Hebrew calendar; it is the New Year for people, animals, and legal contracts.

Represents the creation of the World, or Universe also commemorates the creation of man, which entails that five days earlier, the 25 of Elul, was the first day of creation of the Universe.

In Jewish liturgy Rosh Hashanah is described as "the day of judgment" (Yom ha-Din) and "the day of remembrance" (Yom ha-Zikkaron). Some midrashic descriptions depict God as sitting upon a throne, while books containing the deeds of all humanity are opened for review, and each person passing in front of Him for evaluation of his or her deeds.

Rosh Hashanah is observed as a day of rest like most Jewish holidays. When not on Shabbat, Rosh Hashanah is characterized by the blowing of the shofar (in ancient times it was also sounded on the Sabbath in the Temple), a trumpet made from a ram's horn or the horn of a goat or various types of antelope or gazelle (although not from a cow), intended to symbolically awaken the listeners from their "slumbers" and alert them to the coming judgment.

A special and symbolic foods is eaten on Rosh Hashanah:

  • Honey cake and Apples dipped in honey: honey symbolises a sweet new year.
  • Round Challah (a special type of bread) (pronounced Hallah): This symbolises the circle of life.
  • Fish, shouls: There is plenty of this to symbolise God's creation.
  • Pomegranate: The Pomegranates many seeds symbolise the Torah's 613 positive laws.

Rosh Hashanah occurs 163 days after the first day of Passover (Pesach). In terms of the Gregorian calendar, the earliest date on which Rosh Hashanah can fall is September 5, as happened in 1899 and will happen again in 2013.

Rosh Hashanah will occur on the following days of the Gregorian calendar:

  • Jewish Year 5772: sunset September 28, 2011 - nightfall September 30, 2011
  • Jewish Year 5773: sunset September 16, 2012 - nightfall September 18, 2012
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