The observance of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, began Sunday at sundown. It marks the start of the year 5773 on the Jewish calendar.
Rosh Hashana is an opportunity for Jews to take an accounting of the past year and an accounting of their souls and values according to Rabbi Brian Beal of Temple Beth Torah in Upper Nyack. He explained it is a time when Jews ask forgiveness of each other and from God and use it as an opportunity to return to the right course.
Rosh Hashana’s traditions include gathering with family and friends for meals and worshiping as a community.
“We believe that we should not have to come before God as individuals because the weight of this moment is too heavy for any one person to bear,” said Rabbi Beal. “And so we often come together as a community.”
“There’s the tradition of apples and honey, which celebrates the gift of life and the sweetness of the year,” he said. “And of course, the blowing of the Shofar (Ram’s horn) which has many, many meanings one of which is to awaken the soul and call us back to a path of service to God.”
The observance of Rosh Hashana ends Tuesday at sundown. The 10 days of repentance conclude with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at sundown.