What Is Rosh Hashanah?

Although a lot of people may simply view Thursday as a day off from taking tests in school or a day when some people disappear from work, it is actually a very important time in the Jewish faith.

Thursday is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, which marks the completion of the yearly cycle and the creation of the world, and it renews people, animals, contracts, and almost everything else.

Rosh Hashanah is the first day of the Jewish month Tishrei, which is the seventh month on the traditional calendar. This year, Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the year 5773 and will be celebrated as such over the course of two days.

For people of the Jewish faith, Rosh Hashanah is very important and marks the beginning of the high holidays. Once Rosh Hashanah is over, Yom Kippur will begin 10 days later.

Yom Kippur is considered the “day of atonement” in which people are judged by God for their sins and God chooses who will live and who will die going into the next year.

Just as there are times in the Catholic and Christian faiths to atone for sins, Jews use Yom Kippur as a time to repent and hopefully attain a year of goodness.

In the Bible, Rosh Hashanah is somewhat mentioned in Leviticus; however, it is called by a different name. In the Old Testamant, the celebration is simply meant to mark the beginning of a new year and is supposed to begin — according to the Bible — with a blowing of their horns.

Some of the popular greetings during Rosh Hashanah are “shana tovah u’metukah,” which means a “good and sweat new year.” Some of the more popular foods during the celebration are apples and honey, raisin challah, honeycake and pomegranate.

So, if you are wondering why people are missing from your class or workplace this week, Rosh Hashanah may be the reason.