Rosh Hashanah, or Jewish New Year, is celebrated in 2013 from sundown on Sept. 4 to nightfall on Sept. 6.
For those of us who needed a bit of education on the meaning of this holiday, what better way to learn than from a group of handsome boys doing Parkour to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” – this Rabi is no Pharrell Williams, but this is pretty awesome:
Rosh Hashanah is one of the most beautiful religious holidays out there, a wonderful day of celebration. Here are 5 points you need to know:
1) The new year is the only Jewish holiday that is observed for two days by all Jews (other holidays are observed for just one day within Israel) and it is also the only major holiday that falls on a new moon.
2) The beginning of the observance is marked by the sounding of a shofar (an instrument made from a hollow ram’s horn) and eating foods such as apples dipped in honey to conjure up the hoped-for sweetness of the new year.
3) Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days, or “the days of awe” and is followed 10 days later by Yom Kippur, the “day of atonement.” During the High Holidays, Jews cleanse their soul and get the chance to start fresh with an unburdened conscience and the intention of doing better in the coming year.
4) Rosh Hashanah literally means “head of the year,” and is considered the new year of people, animals and legal contracts. In the Jewish oral tradition, Rosh Hashanah marks the completion of the creation of the world. It’s a birthday of sorts for the world.
5) It is a time for reflection and repentance. It is referred to as the “day of judgment” or the “day of repentance,” but not in that guilty Catholic way, it’s more of a celebration. One popular ritual is to walk to a river or stream and recite special prayers of penitence. Afterwards, one throws breadcrumbs in the river, to symbolically cast away sins.
There’s a great universal insight to be gained from Rosh Hashanah. Basically, this day marks the beginning of a 10-day grace period to get one’s act together and save your soul. It helps open the door to contemplating, with a conscious mind, how to live a little better. Even if you’re not of the Jewish faith, you can use this day to ask yourself (and your kids, or your family) what you’d like to “get clarity” on (as the video says!)
• What have you done that was good over the past year and what have you done that was not so good?
• Are there people who you have had conflict with who you’d like to talk to and forgive or apologize to?
• What do you want to do better in the future, and what, specifically do you want in the year ahead?
Happy Rosh Hashanah!