U?s Jewish community welcomes new year

By By Deborah Rafferty

By Deborah Rafferty

Kiki Temkin celebrated Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, with her family by eating dinner and attending the symphony. Spending the holiday with family during the new year celebration is the most important concept, said Temkin, the event and membership services coordinator at the Jewish Community Center across the street from the U.

“We make sure that whatever we do, we do it together,” Temkin said.

Rosh Hashana is a holiday welcoming the new year, and Jewish students and faculty at the U celebrated it Sept. 19 and Sept. 20. This year marks the Jewish year 5770. The number of the year comes from adding the ages of all the ages of the people in the Bible, which essentially would be the date of the creation of the Earth.

Considered one of the most important holidays in the Jewish year, this is the time those of the Jewish faith go to synagogues, despite how religious a person might be or whether they attend synagogue often or just once a year, said Andrea Alcabes, executive director at the community center.

“It’s the beginning of the new year,” said Raymond Kesner, professor of psychology. “It’s not a celebratory holiday. It’s a way of asking God to take care of you in the following year.”
Special prayers are recited and the shofar, a ram’s horn, is blown throughout the synagogue service. Each time the shofar is blown represents a different way to welcome the new year.

Apples and honey are common foods to eat during the holiday because they symbolize having a sweet new year. Hallah, bread woven into a circle, is also eaten, representing the completed year, Alcabes said.

The 10 days following Rosh Hashana before Yom Kippur are used for introspection. During the Days of Awe, members of the Jewish faith will take a look into the past year to see how they might be able to improve as a person and will ask forgiveness from people they have wronged.

The holiday ends with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which consists of a 25-hour fast during which members will ask for forgiveness from God for their sins.

[email protected]