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Shana Tovah (“Happy New Year”) from Bridges for Peace!

September 15, 2023

by: Kate Norman

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Apples and honey for Rosh HaShanah

Friday, 15 September 2023 | Tonight at sundown begins the first of the Fall Feasts, or the High Holy Days on the Jewish calendar. Sunset will usher in Rosh HaShanah, (Hebrew for “the Head of the Year”) or the Jewish New Year.

This holiday falls on the first day of the month of Tishrei on the Jewish calendar, ushering in the year 5784.

Rosh HaShanah follows the month of Elul, in which Jewish people around the world spend time in reflection and introspection over the previous year, pondering what they did right and what they did wrong, and trying to amend mistakes they made and offenses they have caused to those around them.

The ten days following Rosh HaShanah are known as the Days of Awe, culminating in Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.

This is a day on which the Jewish people will fast from food and water until sundown, spending the day in prayer and repentance.

But for now, the people get to feast on sweet foods to symbolize wishes for a sweet new year. Typical foods for the holiday include a round challah—or loaf of bread eaten every Shabbat (Sabbath)—to symbolize the circle of life. It is also typical to see apples and honey on the table as a sweet treat to start off a sweet new year. Another common food is pomegranates, which attributed to a wish that “our merits be many like the [seeds of the] pomegranate.”

Leviticus 23 lists the appointed biblical feasts prescribed by the Lord for the Israelites to observe, and Rosh HaShanah is here referred to as the Feast of Trumpets, or Yom Teruah in Hebrew.

Little detail is given on how to celebrate the holiday, other than: “In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord” (v. 24b–25).

Thus in Israel and Jewish communities around the world, the shofar (ram’s horn) can be heard all throughout the streets, especially near synagogues.

The sounding of the shofar has several different meanings, according to It is symbolic of the trumpet blast at a king’s coronation, it calls the hearers to repent and it commemorates when Abraham bound Isaac to offer him as a sacrifice in obedience to God’s command. When Abraham obeyed and was ready to carry out the command, God miraculously provided a ram at the last second.

Thus the story of Abraham’s sacrifice is read from the Torah (Gen.–Deut.) on Rosh HaShanah.

It truly is a sweet holiday, as the streets of Israel are filled with people wishing each other “shana tovah” (“good year”) and “Leshanah tovah tikatev vetichatem” for a male and “Leshanah tovah tikatevee vetichatemee” for a female, which means “may you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.”

From Bridges for Peace, Shana Tovah, and may you all be blessed with a sweet new year.

Posted on September 15, 2023

Source: (Bridges for Peace, September 15, 2023)

Photo Credit: Robert Couse-Baker/

Photo License: Wikimedia

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