Rosh Hashanah, the two day Jewish New Year celebration is set to begin on Wednesday, September 24, at sundown. This year’s celebration comes as the world–particularly in Israel and in the middle east–is in a state of violent flux. The tense battles between Israel and Hamas, which marked most of the spring and summer months, has come to a cease-fire and according to the JNS, permanent cease-fire talks will resume through Rosh Hashanah eve in Cairo. Israel hopes that Hamas will disarm, and Hamas wants access to the airport, seaports and their prisoners of war freed. The world watches as the two sides try and negotiate to end further destruction of the Gaza Strip and further bloodshed on both sides.
In addition to the Israel/Hamas conflict, the rise of the Islamic State, or ISIS, has made the region uncomfortable to say the least. ISIS has declared the Jews are an enemy of their faith and have targeted Jewish settlements, calling for another holocaust, as reported by The Algemeiner, and executing any Jews they come across in their march of terror across Iraq and Syria. This turmoil has put the themes of these High Holy Days into a new perspective.
Rosh Hashanah marks the end and the beginning of the Jewish calendar. The two day affair begins at sundown on Wednesday and goes through sundown on Friday, September 26th. Traditionally, Rosh Hashanah is a time for people of the Jewish faith to reflect on the previous year and prepare for the coming one. The Torah is usually read from the beginning to symbolize the Jewish return to faith, and a shofar, or rams horn, is blown to call in the new year. Families and friends gather to dip apples in honey and wish each other “L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu,” which, according to the Guardian Liberty Voice, translates to wishing someone to “be inscribed (in the book of life) for a good year.”
The next day (or first afternoon of Rosh Hashanah), Jews take part in the “Taslich,” which is the tossing of bits of bread into flowing water to symbolize letting go, or casting off, of sins.
Rosh Hashanah is a celebration of returning and renewal and is a sacred, blessed time for those of the Jewish faith. As world events swirl nearly out of control all around them, Jews will celebrate this year with minds and hearts focused on the sins of the past and with renewed hope for a peaceful future. As anti-semitism rises in places like Great Britain and even in America, as previously reported by The Inquisitr, this year’s Rosh Hashanah takes on a greater importance for not only those of the Jewish faith, but for the rest of the world. Let’s hope that this year’s celebration is a peaceful one.
[Images courtesy of Google]