Understanding The Jewish Holidays, ROSH HASHANAH AND YOM KIPPUR!

Beginning Sundown, tonight, is the start of Rosh Hashanah. the Jewish New Year, with Yom Kippur starting at Sunset September 29th.

Rosh Hashanah

Most of the 2 days of Rosh Hashanah are spent in synagogues and Jewish people usually take off work on these Holy Days.

While the Jewish New Year is a happy time, it is also more solemn then other cultures’ New Year’s celebrations. This is a time of reflection –  on how you lived your life this year and to ask for forgiveness for your wrongs.

This is not a sad occasion, but rather a time of great happiness.

Honey and apples and round challah bread symbolize the circle of life. Honey is a symbol of the wish for a sweet new year, also appears in other holiday foods, such as tayglach—-a honey and nut pastry—-and honey cake. The challah, which is normally braided, is round, as a reminder of the never-ending cycle of life.


When the Shofar (Ram’s horn) is blown, it is a time for considering past mistakes and to find ways to make things right.

Steeped in tradition, the 10-day period of self-reflection after Rosh Hashana  leads up to Yom Kippur which begins Sundown, September 29th.

The common greeting for Rosh Hashana is shana tovah u’metukah, Hebrew for “a good and sweet new year.”

According to Chabad.org,:

“On Yom Kippur, many people wear white clothing while praying. Married Ashkenazic men traditionally wear a simple, long white garment called a kittel. The kittel is also the traditional Jewish shroud; wearing it reminds us of our mortality and urges us to repent.”

Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year for Jewish people.

The Jewish prayer, Avinu Malkeinu, recited during Jewish services  on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is recited throughout the Ten Days of Repentance, from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur, as well as on fast days.


shana tovah u’metukah


Additional Resources:


About Religion: The High Holidays