Rosh Hashanah is the Hebrew for "beginning of the year", it marks the
first day of the High Holidays or Yamim Noraim ("Days of Awe").
- Rosh Hashanah -
A Jewish Special Occasion
- Dates for Rosh Hashanah
Ways of Celebrating Rosh Hashanah
- Jokes for Rosh Hashanah
- Yom Kippur
The Mishnah, the core work of the Jewish oral law, sets this day aside as
the new year for calculating calendar years and sabbatical and jubilee
Rabbinic literature describes this day as a day of judgement. God is
sometimes referred to as the "Ancient of Days." Some descriptions depict God
as sitting upon a throne, while books containing the deeds of all humanity
are opened before Him.
This holiday is part of the Yamim Noraim [Hebrew, "Days of Awe"]; the
Yamim Noraim are a ten day period which begins with Rosh Hashanah, followed
by the days of repentance, and end with the holiday of Yom Kippur.
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, falls on the Hebrew calendar dates of
1 and 2 Tishrei, where Tishrei is the first month of the civil Jewish year.
Since the Middle Ages Rosh Hashanah has been a two day festival, and the
rules for calculating the start of the new year ensure that Rosh Hashanah
can never start on a Wednesday, Friday or Sunday.
2010: September 9th
until 10th (2 Tishrei)
2011: September 29th
until 30th (2 Tishrei)
2012: September 17th until 18th (2 Tishrei)
5th until 6th
2014: September 25th until 26th (2 Tishrei)
2015: September 14th until 15th (2 Tishrei)
NB. The Jewish calendar date begins at sundown of the night beforehand,
Will and Guy have learned. Thus all holiday observances begin at sundown on
the secular dates listed, with the following day being the first full day of
the holiday. Jewish calendar dates conclude at nightfall.
While there are elements of joy and celebration, Rosh Hashanah is a
deeply religious occasion. The customs and symbols of Rosh Hashanah reflect
the holiday's dual emphasis, happiness and humility.
Rosh Hashanah, Will and Guy have been told is celebrated with sweet
foods, like apples dipped in honey and honey cake, as a wish for a sweet
year. Some families also celebrate with symbolic foods like the head of a
fish, pomegranates, and carrots.
The head of a fish is so that we can be "like the head and not like the
tail." This is a symbol of having a year in which we are on top and not the
bottom. Pomegranates are symbolic of plenty. We want plenty of health and
happiness for the New Year, just as many good things as there are seed in a
pomegranate. Thousands say Will and Guy.
Carrots are also eaten and it isn't just to see better in the dark. For
Ashkenazi Jews, carrots symbolize the Yiddish word "merren" which also means
more. We want more of all the good things in life. More health, more
happiness, more success. For Sephardic Jews, carrots are symbolic of the
phrase "Yikaretu oyveychem" which means may your enemies be cut down. We ask
that those who wish bad for us not get their wish, that they don't succeed.
Round challots [bread] are made with honey and raisins. These are another
symbol of a sweet and happy year. We put decorations on the Challot, such as
birds which symbolise doves of peace.
A shofar is a horn, traditionally that of a ram, which is used for Jewish
religious purposes. Shofar blowing is incorporated in synagogue
services on both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Ron, a Catholic chauffeur was bragging
to his friend how well the Jewish family who employed him treated him.
'You wouldn't believe it,' he bragged. 'I get tips galore, and they
always buy me lunch or dinner when I drive. My salary is great, with
benefits. I get off all holidays, including the Jewish ones, like Rosh
'That sounds pretty good,' said Dave, a friend. 'But what's Rosh
''Oh, that's when they blow the shofar*,' answers Ron.
'What?' spluttered Dave, 'You call that a benefit.'
*A shofar is a horn blown at Jewish festivals.
A Priest and a Rabbi
A priest and a rabbi are
discussing the pros and cons of their various religions, and inevitably the
discussion turns to repentance.
Rabbi Shimon Ben Gamliel explains Yom Kippur, the solemn Day of
Atonement, a day of fasting and penitence, while the Father John tells him
all about Lent, and its 40 days of self-denial and absolution from sins.
After the discussion ends, the rabbi goes home to tell his wife, Deborah,
about the conversation, and they discuss the merits of Lent versus Yom
Deborah turns her head and laughs.
The rabbi says, 'What's so funny,
Deborah's response, '40 days of Lent - one day of Yom Kippur...so, even
when it comes to sin, the goyyim* pay retail.....'
*Goyyim is a term for a gentile or non-Jew.
See more clean but funny
Rosh Hashanah jokes.
Will and Guy are keen to learn more about
Rosh Hashanah, so please send us your stories and interesting information.