Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Shanah Tovah!

Happy New Year! Shanah tovah! (!שנה טובה)

Today marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, (ראש השנה). The Hebrew term literally means "head of the year". The Jewish New Year begins with a ten-day period of prayer, self-examination and repentance (with penitential prayers called "selichot," (סליחות), culminating in the "Day of Atonement," or Yom Kippur (יוֹם כִּפּוּר). These ten days of repentance are known as "Days of Awe."

The Jewish New Year also celebrates God's creation of the universe, the creation of Adam, and the pinnacle of creation, Eve. It is the Feast of Trumpets when the shofar is blown to coronate God as King of the Universe, and to awaken all people to a remembrance of Him and of our true identity as God's children, while alerting listeners to the impending day of judgment. The "Days of Awe" are a time to prepare one's soul for the "Day of Atonement," the holiest day of the year, by turning to God, forgiving others and asking forgiveness, and caring for the poor and the afflicted. In other words, it is a time to do God's will and to serve others.

What a great way to start the new year! Happy New Year! Shanah tovah! (!שנה טובה)