2020: Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset on September 18th. Rosh Hashanah is the birthday of the universe. The Rosh Hashanah actually means Head of the Year. This is one of Judaism’s holiest days and it marks the beginning of a 10-day period of a call to repentance and reconciliation which culminates on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).
Observances include candle lighting – females who are in the house (or if there isn’t a woman in the house, the head of the household), light candles to usher in each night of the holiday. On the first night, the candles are lit and the following blessing is prayed:
Bo-ruch a-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ho-olom a-sher
ki-de-sha-nu be-mitz-vo-sov ve-tzi-vo-nu le-had-lik ner shel
Translation: Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the light of the Day of Remembrance.
Rosh Hashanah observances also include festive meals with sweet delicacies, and prayer services that include the sounding of the ram’s horn (shofar).
Let us celebrate with our Jewish brothers and sisters. Joining with them in prayer is particularly important in these days when according to the World Jewish Congress, anti-Semitism is growing throughout the world. They give examples of banning Kosher slaughter, seeking a ban on circumcision for all boys under 16, rising white supremacy, etc. They also report that anti-Semitic message is posted on social media every 83 seconds.
So we too must kindle the light and seek repentance and reconciliation.