Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins at sunset on September 16, which is this Sunday. It will end at nightfall on September 18. Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the High Holy Days, which includes Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. There are a number of traditions associated with this holiday, including sounding the shofar, a traditional ram’s horn, and eating food like apples dipped in honey.
Rosh Hashanah is about celebrating beginnings, especially spiritual beginnings and renewal. This renewal is done by moving through three stages: Tshuvah (repenting), Tefilla (prayer), and Tzedakah (gifts of money). This cycle of renewal helps each person to remember that the mistakes of the past can be fixed. During Tshuvah, these mistakes are acknowledged and confronted head on. If a person cannot accept the errors they have made, they cannot begin to accept them and move on. This process is actually supposed to begin the month before Rosh Hashanah during what is called the month of Elul, the time of self-examination.
The next part of the Rosh Hashanah is Tefilla, or prayer. This stage is about reminding each person that their lives, their community, and the world are in the hands of God. He molds each person into the one they’re supposed to be, and even our mistakes are a part of that molding. During Tefilla, we must recognize that the world doesn’t revolve around us. Here, each individual prays and, through prayer, works to align his or her values with those of God for the next year.
Finally, the third stage is Tzedakah, or acts of financial giving. Jews give back to the world as a way of showing thanks and appreciation for the goodness and love that they have received. It helps remind everyone that our fortunes and our lives are tied together.
There are many other traditions that are practiced during Rosh Hashanah. There are a number of traditional greetings and prayers that are recited during the holiday. In addition to apples and honey, pomegranates are also often eaten and wine is drunk after it has been blessed with the Kiddush, a traditional prayer.
We have a number of different Rosh Hashanah flowers in Washington, DC, that can be delivered before the start of the holiday.