The holiday of Rosh HaShanah, which starts the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 4, lasts for two days and allows Jews to repent to their Creator and to their fellow man and woman, in order to start the New Year with a clean slate.Rosh Hashanah evening services at Natick's Temple Israel is free and open to the public on Wednesday's first evening..
Contact the Temple Israel office at 508-650-3521, or at email@example.com, with questions about joining the temple or procuring High Holiday tickets for the rest of the holiday.
Rosh HaShanah marks the beginning of a 10-day period of prayer, self-examination and repentance, culminating on the fast day of Yom Kippur. These 10 days are referred to as the Days of Awe or High Holy Days.
While there is joy along with celebration during the holiday, Rosh Hashanah is a deeply religious occasion. The customs and symbols of Rosh Hashanah reflect the holiday's dual emphasis: happiness and humility.
Special customs observed on Rosh HaShanah include:
- the sounding of the shofar – a ram's horn, whose piercing sound jolts the congregants into soul-searching – using a round rather than a braided challah bread to symbolize, some say, the circularity of this season;
- and eating apples and honey or other sweet foods to symbolize the wish for a sweet new year.
The culmination of the Days of Awe is Yom Kippur, a 24-hour fast, a day without food or water, a day that is devoted to prayer and study. The fast is not to punish the congregation – although hunger and dehydration are challenging and humbling – but to free them of daily routines to emphasize their spiritual lives.
The fast may also teach sympathy for those who often don't have enough to eat. And the fast reinforces the value of self-control, important in realizing any goals in life, not only the spiritual.
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, ends traditionally when three stars appear in the sky, followed by a "break fast," and well wishers saying to each other, "L'Shanah Tova," Happy New Year.