Rosh Hashanah

(Roesh Hah-shah-NAH, translation: "the head of the year")

The beginning of the Jewish year, in the early fall, Rosh Hashanah is celebrated at the birthday of the world. It also begins the ten-day period which is called "The Days of Awe" or the "High Holy Days", when Jews reflect on their actions of the past year and seek forgiveness and resolve to do better. This ten-day period culminates in the holiday and day of fasting of Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the most reflective and introspective of the Jewish Holidays, when many Jews attend religious services.

At Rosh Hashanah, many food items are used to celebrate the hope for a sweet and abundant year to come. For example, apples dipped in honey, carrot dishes, sweet "kugels" ( noodle casseroles), and circular-shaped Challah with raisins are served at this time.

McGillis Celebration

The McGillis School does not hold school on Rosh Hashanah.  Students learn about this holiday during Ethics & Cultures class, focusing on the value of reflection and self-improvement. We share apples dipped in honey and wish our community a sweet new year.  At a Shabbat celebration during this season, we will blow the shofar – an actual instrument made from a ram's horn - and sing fun songs.

Traditional Celebration

Traditional Jews celebrate by attending Synagogue services.  It is a holiday when "occasional" Jews make it a point to go to services.  On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, Jews great each other with "L'Shana Tovah", which means "A Good Year".  The Shofar (Ram's horn) is blown during religious services to "awaken the soul" to contemplation, return and renewal.

It is traditional to give additional "tzedakah" – donations to charity – at this time of year.