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High Holy Days

 

Rosh Hashanah [Jewish New Year]

 

Rosh HaShanah is literally the "Head of the Year." It marks the beginning of a ten-day period of prayer, self-examination and repentance called known as the Yamim Noraim [Days of Awe or High Holy Days]. The holiday is celebrated on the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, which due to differences in the solar and lunar calendar, corresponds to September or October on the secular calendar. Customs associated with the holiday include home observance and prayers in the synagogue. Highlights of the holiday include the sounding the shofar [ram's horn], eating a round challah [braided egg-bread] and tasting apples and honey to represent a sweet New Year.

Apples & Honey for a Sweet New Year

 

Yom Kippur [Day of Atonement]

 

Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the Jewish year. The observance is marked by fasting, prayer and repentance. It occurs on the 10th day of Tishrei in the Hebrew calendar as serves as the conclusion of Yamim Nora'im [Days of Awe]. Yom Kippur is a time to dedicate mind, body and spirit to reconcile with God, our fellow human beings and ourselves. 

                           The Shofar [Ram's Horn]

The Shofar [Ram's Horn]

 

Sukkot [Festival of Booths]

 

Sukkot is one of the festivals of the Jewish calendar. Originally a pilgrimage holiday, Sukkot meaning "booths" or "huts," gives thanks for the fall harvest. It also commemorates the forty years of Jewish wandering in the desert after the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Sukkot is celebrated five days after Yom Kippur on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei. During this seven-day [or eight-day] festival, it is customary to build a sukkah or small, temporary booth which is used for eating, entertaining and even sleeping.

Other names for the festival are Z’man Simchateinu [Season of Our Joy] and Chag HaAsif [Festival of the Ingathering]. During Sukkot it is a mitzvah [sacred obligation] to waive the four species in the sukkah. The four species are: lulav [palm frong], hadas [myrtle], arava [willow] and etrog [citron].

                    Lulav & Etrog Set     

Lulav & Etrog Set     

 

Simchat Torah [Rejoicing with the Torah]

 

At the conclusion of the seventh day of Sukkot, the Reform Movement celebrates Sh'mini Atzeret [day of assembly] and Simchat Torah on the 22nd day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei. This holiday affirms Torah as one of the three foundations of Judaism: God, Torah and Israel. Many congregations unroll the entire scroll of Torah to read the final verses of the D'varim [Deuteronomy] and the opening verses of B'reshit [Genesis]. It is a time of joy and merriment. 

Torah Scroll

 

Tue, October 17 2017 27 Tishrei 5778