Rosh Hashanah, known as the Jewish New Year, begins the Jewish high holidays, a time of reflection, charity, and new beginnings in the Hebrew calendar. Here's how to celebrate it.
Step 1: Start the celebration Clear your schedule. Rosh Hashanah falls on a different day each year, usually in September. The 2-day celebration starts at sundown the evening before the first full day.
Step 2: Have a family dinner Start the holiday with a family dinner on the first night. The meal may include gefilte fish, matzo ball soup, roast chicken or brisket, carrot tzimmes, and pomegranate. Greet everyone by saying L'Shanah Tovah! which in Hebrew means "For a good year!"
Step 3: Recite blessings Light the candles and say the ritual blessings over them. Recite the kiddush, or blessing over the wine, and the blessing over the challah bread. Pass the challah around for everyone to break off a piece, and dip the bread and slices of apples in honey in the hope that the new year will be sweet.
TIP: Bless the wine The circular shape of the challah bread represents the cycle of the year and of life.
Step 4: Go to temple Go to temple. Most synagogues have an all-day program that includes songs, prayers, readings, sermons, and the story of the binding of Isaac from the Torah.
TIP: Dip bread and apples One of the holiday's mitzvot, or commandments, is to hear the "ram's horn or shofar":http://www.howcast.com/videos/237556-How-To-Blow-a-Shofar, which serves as a call to examine your behavior.
Step 5: Cast off your sins After services, follow the rabbi to a flowing body of water for a ritual known as Tashlich. Some Tashlich ceremonies include tossing bits of bread into the water to symbolize letting go of your sins.
Step 6: Enjoy your year Reflect on the past year and the year to come. Take time to remember the less fortunate, and include charitable giving in your Rosh Hashanah celebrations.
FACT: In the Bible, Rosh Hashanah is referred to as Yom Ha-Zikkaron, day of remembrance, or Yom Teruah, day of shofar blowing.