Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Some Rosh Hashanna Stuff--A Seder in French/Hebrew, and a Basic Primer for Rosh Hashanna


Just a few things I came across in going through my holiday files this year, preparing for the High Holy Days.

The first is a nice illustration I came across that I thought you might like to use if you are preparing early for your Rosh Hashanna Seder and you happen to speak French or Hebrew.

The second thing is a small primer that I prepared to share with as a handout for public school teachers in helping them understand what Rosh Hashanna is, and some Rosh Hashanna symbols. It is very basic, but I think it is good if you ever need to explain some of the symbolism of Rosh Hashanna to a group who doesn't have the background to understand Rosh Hashanna (it would probably be good for a Sunday school class of young children at the synagogue, come to think of it . . . ).

I hope these are helpful as you prepare for the Holiday!

Kol Tov!

May you be sealed for a blessing in the coming year!!

A Rosh Hashanna Primer
by Michelle Nevada

Rosh Hashanna means “Head of the Year,” and represents the beginning of a new year. This Rosh Hashanna will begin the year 5769.

Although it is known as the “Jewish New Year” it is not a time for celebrations. It is a serious time when Jews are judged by God, and God determines how our next year will be.

During this time, we are called to account for all our misdeeds, we are expected to apologize and make amends to those we have harmed, and we are required to accept the apologies of those who have hurt us.

These are some traditions of Rosh Hashanna:

What we Do
Wish each other a good year filled with blessings.

How we do it
We bless one another to be inscribed in G-d’s symbolic “book of life.” We say: “L’Shana Tova!”

What it means
It is actually short for the phrase, ““L'shanah tovah tikatev v'taihatem!” (May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.)

What we Do
Blow the Shofar during services in synagogue.

How we do it
A ram’s horn, which has been hollowed out, is blown like a trumpet in order to “awaken” us to our duties (in Hebrew “mitzvoth”) in this world.

What it means
The ram’s horn reminds us of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac, and how God showed mercy and provided a ram for the sacrifice instead.

What we Do
Eat Symbolic Foods

How we do it
We eat a special holiday meals with friends and family that include fish heads, apples and honey, and round loaves of bread.

What it means
The head of a fish represents our hope to be at “the head and not the tail.” Apples dipped in honey represent a “sweet new Year”; bread baked into round loafs remind us of the continuity of life.

What we Do

How we do it
Empty our pockets or throw bread into a body of water.

What it means
It represents the casting off of sins as we begin a new year.

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