High Holiday Recipes

Rosh Hashana Resources

High Holidays

Participate in one of our renowned, interactive High Holiday Beginners Service programs or workshops this holiday season.  We’ll help you host a program with our comprehensive materials and videos or find one to attend.

Learn more

Rosh Hoshana

The Jewish New Year starts with a celebration of the very creation of the world and a recognition of humankind’s relationship to the Creator.

Learn more

Yom Kippur

The High Holidays culminate with The Day of Atonement.
There is a mysticism in that almost all Jews recognize the holiness of the day.

Learn more

Articles

Browse our collection of High Holiday Jewish Treats, filled with interesting stories and articles about Jewish histories and traditions.

Read more

Holiday Workshops on Zoom

Holiday Workshops with Rabbi Buchwald

Get ready for Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot with three exciting Zoom workshops, led by Rabbi Buchwald!

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Sept. 15, 2020 - 7:00PM EDT

Make Rosh Hashana Come Alive!

Join Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald for an exciting one hour Rosh Hashana Prayer Workshop on Tuesday evening, September 15th, at 7pm EDT on Zoom to help us prepare for the holiday. Explore the significance of the shofar, the impactful Torah readings and develop a greater appreciation for some of the most significant prayers.

Register Now

Sept. 22, 2020 - 7:00PM EDT

Demystify Yom Kippur!

Rabbi Buchwald will lead an enriching one hour Yom Kippur Prayer Workshop on Tuesday evening, September 22nd, at 7pm EDT on Zoom.  Delve into the underlying significance of Yom Kippur, learn how one can achieve repentance and explore the meaning of the some of the most significant prayers.

Register Now

Sept. 29, 2020 - 7:00PM EDT

The Joyous Festival of Sukkot!

Join Rabbi Buchwald for an uplifting one hour Sukkot Workshop on Tuesday evening, September 29th, at 7pm EDT on Zoom to help us prepare for the holiday of Sukkot. Learn the beautiful symbolism of the four species, what constitutes a Sukkah and develop a whole new understanding of the joyous celebration that is Sukkot.

Register Now

High Holidays

Participate in one of our renowned, interactive High Holiday Beginners Service programs or workshops this holiday season.  We’ll help you host a program with our comprehensive materials and videos or find one to attend.

Learn more

Rosh Hoshana

The Jewish New Year starts with a celebration of the very creation of the world and a recognition of humankind’s relationship to the Creator.

Learn more

Yom Kippur

The High Holidays culminate with The Day of Atonement.
There is a mysticism in that almost all Jews recognize the holiness of the day.

Learn more

Articles

Browse our collection of High Holiday Jewish Treats, filled with interesting stories and articles about Jewish histories and traditions.

Read more

High Holiday 101 Web Series

High Holiday 101

Web Series

NJOP’s High Holidays 101 web series features Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald, Founder and Director of NJOP, as he answers six important questions people often ask about the High Holidays. You can find links to each of the topics below.

High Holidays

Participate in one of our renowned, interactive High Holiday Beginners Service programs or workshops this holiday season.  We’ll help you host a program with our comprehensive materials and videos or find one to attend.

Learn more

Rosh Hoshana

The Jewish New Year starts with a celebration of the very creation of the world and a recognition of humankind’s relationship to the Creator.

Learn more

Yom Kippur

The High Holidays culminate with The Day of Atonement.
There is a mysticism in that almost all Jews recognize the holiness of the day.

Learn more

Articles

Browse our collection of High Holiday Jewish Treats, filled with interesting stories and articles about Jewish histories and traditions.

Read more

High Holiday Jewish Treats

Jewish Treats about

The High Holidays

Browse our archive of High Holiday related Jewish Treats.

High Holidays

Participate in one of our renowned, interactive High Holiday Beginners Service programs or workshops this holiday season.  We’ll help you host a program with our comprehensive materials and videos or find one to attend.

Learn more

Rosh Hoshana

The Jewish New Year starts with a celebration of the very creation of the world and a recognition of humankind’s relationship to the Creator.

Learn more

Yom Kippur

The High Holidays culminate with The Day of Atonement.
There is a mysticism in that almost all Jews recognize the holiness of the day.

Learn more

Articles

Browse our collection of High Holiday Jewish Treats, filled with interesting stories and articles about Jewish histories and traditions.

Read more

The Fast Of Gedaliah (Tzom Gedaliah)

Tzom Gedaliah

The Fast of Gedaliah

Table of Contents

What

The Fast of Gedaliah is observed to commemorate of the murder of Gedaliah the son of Achikam, which is described in the last chapter of the Second Book of Kings. This murder resulted in the final Babylonian exile and destruction:

After the first Holy Temple was destroyed and the Babylonians had driven the majority of the Jewish people into exile, a small minority of Jews were permitted to remain in the Land of Israel. Also, Jews who had fled during the war returned and began to work the land.
Nebuchadnetzar, the King of Babylon, appointed Gedaliah to be the governor over the remaining population.
The King of Ammon, a neighboring country, was vying for control over the Land of Israel against the Babylonians. He commissioned Yishmael the son of Netanyah to remove Gedaliah.
Murder! Yishmael, who was a descendant of King David, came to the town of Mitzpeh and murdered Gedaliah and all those that were with him.
In fear of retribution for the murder of the appointed governor, the remaining Jews fled the Land of Israel, thus completing the exile.

When

The Fast of Gedaliah is observed on the third day of Tishrei, the day after Rosh Hashanah. The fast begins at the break of dawn and ends at nightfall.

* Some people will get up before dawn and have an early morning breakfast (but this is only permitted if a decision to do so is verbally expressed the night before).

Do’s and Don’ts

1) During the duration of the fast, eating and drinking are prohibited.

2) Unlike Yom Kippur and Tisha B’Av (The Day of Atonement and the Ninth of Av), bathing, annointing, marital relations and wearing leather are permitted.

3) Pregnant and nursing women, and others with health considerations may be exempt from fasting (please consult your rabbi). Children under the age of bar/bat mitzvah (13 for boys, 12 for girls) are not required to fast.

4) Special prayers are added to the synagogue services:

a) Selichot (Penitential Prayers) and Avinu Malkeinu (Our Father, Our King) are recited.
b) At the morning service, Exodus 32:11-14 and 34: 1-10 are read from the Torah.
c) The Aneinu prayer asking for special forgiveness is added to the morning and afternoon services by the cantor. An individual who is fasting includes Aneinu when saying Mincha.

5) If the third of Tishrei falls out on Shabbat, the fast is postponed until Sunday, as it is forbidden to fast on Shabbat (with the exception of Yom Kippur).

High Holidays

Participate in one of our renowned, interactive High Holiday Beginners Service programs or workshops this holiday season.  We’ll help you host a program with our comprehensive materials and videos or find one to attend.

Learn more

Rosh Hoshana

The Jewish New Year starts with a celebration of the very creation of the world and a recognition of humankind’s relationship to the Creator.

Learn more

Yom Kippur

The High Holidays culminate with The Day of Atonement.
There is a mysticism in that almost all Jews recognize the holiness of the day.

Learn more

Articles

Browse our collection of High Holiday Jewish Treats, filled with interesting stories and articles about Jewish histories and traditions.

Read more

Shofar Service

Shofar Service

“…it shall be declared a holiday for you, a day of sounding a teruah for you”
(Numbers 29:1).

Teruah is the word for one of the sounds of the shofar.

    • The shofar is made from the horn of a ram. A special person to serve as the Shofar blower is designated for the holiday. This person has studied the various laws of the shofar service and is trained to properly maintain strong consistent sounds.
    • The shofar is not sounded on Shabbat.
    • It is a Torah obligation to hear the shofar during the Rosh Hashana Mussaf service (the additional service). If one is unable to attend services, during the daytime one may:Find out what time the shofar will be blown and go specifically to hear the shofar blown and then return home.

Check with the local synagogue if there will be a special shofar sounding for people who miss it in the morning.
Have someone blow the shofar for him/her privately.

There are three types of shofar blasts:

Tekiah – the long, solid blast.

      • The tekiah sound is like the blast of the trumpet at a king’s coronation, reminding us that G-d is the King of Kings.
      • The tekiah is a strong note of joyous happiness, to remind us that we are standing before G-d, our Maker, who loves us and judges us with mercy.

Shevarim – the three medium-length blasts

      • The shevarim is reminiscent of deep sighs or soft crying, (where one is gasping for breath).
      • The shevarim is the beginning of the recognition of all that G-d does for us, and all that we could be doing, thus the sighing sound.

Teruah – the 9 quick blasts

      • The teruah evokes the feeling of short piercing cries of wailing.
      • The teruah is the recognition that the year is closing and that the time for teshuva will soon pass.

Tekiah Gedolah – Final Blast
The elongated, solid note that is blown as the last blast of the shofar service. The regular tekiah is a note of joy – the tekiah gedolah is a triumphant shout that reaches out to the hearts of all to assure them that their prayers have been heard.

High Holidays

Participate in one of our renowned, interactive High Holiday Beginners Service programs or workshops this holiday season.  We’ll help you host a program with our comprehensive materials and videos or find one to attend.

Learn more

Rosh Hoshana

The Jewish New Year starts with a celebration of the very creation of the world and a recognition of humankind’s relationship to the Creator.

Learn more

Yom Kippur

The High Holidays culminate with The Day of Atonement.
There is a mysticism in that almost all Jews recognize the holiness of the day.

Learn more

Articles

Browse our collection of High Holiday Jewish Treats, filled with interesting stories and articles about Jewish histories and traditions.

Read more

Symbolic Foods

Symbolic Foods

There is a certain meaning and prayer behind each kind of symbolic food. See if one of the foods holds a deeper connection for you.

Apples and Honey

A slice of apple is dipped in honey.

The blessing for the fruit of the tree is recited:

Baruch atah Ado-nai, Ehlo-haynu melech Ha-olam, Borai p’ree ha’aitz.
“Blessed are you L-rd, our G-d ruler of the world, Creator of the fruit of the tree.”

Take a bite and then recite the following brief prayer:

“May it be Your will, Hashem, our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, that You renew for us a good and sweet year.”

Dates

(t’marim – from the word for “to consume”)

“May it be Your will, Hashem, our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, that our enemies be consumed.”
ome people eat the date first because it is one of the fruits for which the Land of Israel is known.

Squash

(kara – from the word for “to tear”)

“May it be Your will, Hashem, our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, that the decree of our sentence be torn asunder; and may our merits be proclaimed before You.”

Black-eyed Peas

(rubia – from the word for “increase”) or,

Carrots

(merrin, in Yiddish – from the word “more”)

“May it be Your will, Hashem, our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, that our merits increase.”

Raisins and Celery

(this is a recent, somewhat humorous, English addition)

“May it be Your will to grant us a “raise in salary.”

Pomegranates

It is said that each pomegranate has 613 seeds, representing the 613 commandments of the Torah:

“May it be Your will, Hashem, our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, that our merits be as plentiful as the seeds of a pomegranates.”

Fish

A fish is considered to be a symbol of fertility and blessing:

“May it be Your will, Hashem, our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, that we be fruitful and multiply like fish.”

Head of a Sheep/Fish:

Some have a custom to have the head of a sheep or a fish on the table and to say:

“May it be Your will, Hashem, our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, that we be as the head and not as the tail.”

Nuts

On Rosh Hashana, nuts are not eaten since the numeric value of the word for nut, egoz, is equivalent to the numeric value for the word for sin, chet.

High Holidays

Participate in one of our renowned, interactive High Holiday Beginners Service programs or workshops this holiday season.  We’ll help you host a program with our comprehensive materials and videos or find one to attend.

Learn more

Rosh Hoshana

The Jewish New Year starts with a celebration of the very creation of the world and a recognition of humankind’s relationship to the Creator.

Learn more

Yom Kippur

The High Holidays culminate with The Day of Atonement.
There is a mysticism in that almost all Jews recognize the holiness of the day.

Learn more

Articles

Browse our collection of High Holiday Jewish Treats, filled with interesting stories and articles about Jewish histories and traditions.

Read more

Rosh Hashana Essay

Rosh Hashana Essay

“Elul is the time to look back over the past year, sort out our strengths and weaknesses, and see what impact our deeds have had. Like sorting the receipts, we can put our actions into little piles…”

A Season of Repentance


Imagine that you receive a notice from the IRS that you are going to be audited in one month. You are frantic. After all, receipts and credit slips are scattered in drawers and piles throughout the house; and, now you have only one month to find them. The beginning of the month of Elul marks the one month notice until the “Divine audit” on Rosh Hashana. Throughout the month of Elul, Jews search for every receipt and credit slip left by their behavior. “Did I belittle the secretary who couldn’t remember my name?” “Did I borrow $20 and forget to return it?” “Did I…?”

Elul is the time to look back over the past year, sort out our strengths and weaknesses, and see what impact our deeds have had. Like sorting the receipts, we can put our actions into little piles: wrong to G-d, our fellow humans or even ourselves, and good to G-d, our fellow humans or ourselves. Sometimes an action may fall into several categories. Reviewing our behavior is, according to the Medieval scholar Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (Maimonides), the beginning of the first step in teshuva, repentance. The Jewish view of repentance goes much farther than mere regret. Teshuva is a pro-active process that recognizes our fallibility and our ability to change.

People err. The Bible is full of people “messing up.” What is important, however, is that one learns from his/her mistakes; and, the first step in setting it straight is recognizing the problem and stopping the behavior. For many, recognizing a negative behavior is painfully difficult. After all, it’s so easy to justify our actions — “Well, he shouldn’t have cut me off, I had every right to yell at him!””The government already gets enough money, I don’t have to declare this on my taxes!” “Hey, so what if I told them that I saw her out last night, everybody knows she’s a real partier!” But rationalizations don’t make the action right, they only make the rationalizer feel better about their behavior. Admitting that an action was wrong or that it may have hurt someone, takes courage and honesty. Stopping the behavior is an even greater challenge.

Humankind, however, was created to meet this challenge. As the only one of G-d’s creations with a soul, humans alone are capable of spiritual growth. Unlike physical development, spiritual growth must be a conscious effort, with both short and long term goals. For instance: long term, one may wish to be able to read from the Torah, but the short term goal may be to learn the Aleph-Bet. When setting the long term goal of becoming the best possible person, Rosh Hashana is the date by which one sets a short term goal of evaluating the direction in which one is heading.

On Rosh Hashana the world came to life. It was the sixth day of creation. The trees had been planted, the seeds for the grasses were sown, fish, birds, mammals and all other creatures were formed…and then G-d created the human being. How can Rosh Hashana be considered the birthday of the world if the world was already six days old? A baby is conceived and exists for nine months before the child is born, yet only the day of its first breath is considered its actual birthday. So too, only on the sixth day, when G-d “formed Adam of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,” did the world become actualized.

That first breath set the world in motion. It was also from that day forth that humankind has had to face the battle of free-will. While it may appear to be a burden, free-will, the ability to choose one’s actions, is actually the necessary ingredient for spiritual growth. After all, if one works solely upon natural instinct, one will always have the same reaction in similar situations. Without free-will there are no choices about behavior and there can be no reflection about right or wrong. With free-will, however, what we did yesterday is not necessarily what we do today or tomorrow. However, with free-will comes responsibility and accountability; and, on Rosh Hashana G-d holds each man and woman accountable for his or her actions over the last year

While people should strive to improve themselves throughout the year, as the month of Elul begins and the Shofar is sounded, we are reminded that there is just one month left. Thirty days remain to check one’s balance and settle old accounts. By using Elul to prepare, one is able to face the Divine audit on Rosh Hashana with clarity and confidence, knowing that one has moved towards his/her spiritual goal and has made a better connection with the power of the day, and with G-d.

High Holidays

Participate in one of our renowned, interactive High Holiday Beginners Service programs or workshops this holiday season.  We’ll help you host a program with our comprehensive materials and videos or find one to attend.

Learn more

Rosh Hoshana

The Jewish New Year starts with a celebration of the very creation of the world and a recognition of humankind’s relationship to the Creator.

Learn more

Yom Kippur

The High Holidays culminate with The Day of Atonement.
There is a mysticism in that almost all Jews recognize the holiness of the day.

Learn more

Articles

Browse our collection of High Holiday Jewish Treats, filled with interesting stories and articles about Jewish histories and traditions.

Read more

Recommended High Holiday Reading

Rosh Hashana Resources

A selection of valuable books to help you explore your Jewish Heritage and prepare for the New Year.

Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur Survival Kit

By Shimon Apisdorf

Shimon Apisdorf’s Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur Survival Kit is an essential resource to anyone wishing to truly benefit from the High Holiday Services. With an easy-to-read, fast-paced style, the book provides readers with an overview to the holidays as a whole, and then some. The Survival Kit is an excellent resource for preparing to face the “Days of Awe” and for making the most of the Holy Days themselves. Not only is it a wonderful tool for the festival season, but it encompasses ideas pertinent to the rest of the year as well.

The Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur Survival Kit brings in ideas and fundamental questions about Jewish beliefs and customs. Apisdorf addresses issues like focusing during prayer, faith and the survival of the Jewish People. In fact, the wide scope of the book addresses basic issues and questions that have been asked, at some time or another, by almost every Jew; and, he provides simple, straight forward answers.

This Survival Kit is a guide. Buy it before the holiday season and use it as a pre-festival guide. Read it, takes notes on it, and meditate on the lesson within it. Then take the messages of the holiday and use them to move forward and enter the new year.

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To Be A Jew

By Hayim Halevy Donin

A detailed description of day to day Jewish life, To Be A Jew is a valuable resource for every Jewish home. Read it through or use it as a reference source, Hayim Halevy Donin covers topics from circumcision to marriage and kashrut to holidays.

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This Is My G-d

By Herman Wouk

Well known novelist Herman Wouk’s reflections on traditional Jewish life. This Is My G-d is the perfect overview of the philosophy and details of Jewish life.

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Remember to Shop with Amazon Smile so that a portion of your purchase is donated to NJOP!

High Holidays

Participate in one of our renowned, interactive High Holiday Beginners Service programs or workshops this holiday season.  We’ll help you host a program with our comprehensive materials and videos or find one to attend.

Learn more

Rosh Hoshana

The Jewish New Year starts with a celebration of the very creation of the world and a recognition of humankind’s relationship to the Creator.

Learn more

Yom Kippur

The High Holidays culminate with The Day of Atonement.
There is a mysticism in that almost all Jews recognize the holiness of the day.

Learn more

Articles

Browse our collection of High Holiday Jewish Treats, filled with interesting stories and articles about Jewish histories and traditions.

Read more

The 10 Days

The 10 Days

Of Repentance

As the sun sets on Yom Kippur, the judgment handed down on Rosh Hashana is sealed. Known as the Ten Days of Repentance, the first ten days of the Hebrew month of Tishrei (from the beginning of Rosh Hashana until the end of Yom Kippur) are highlighted by an intensified desire for teshuva (repentance).

How to Change the Sentence in Ten Days:

Teshuva, Tefila U’Tzedukah(Repentance, Prayer and Charity)

Teshuva, repentance, is the major focus both before and after Rosh Hashana. During the Ten Days of Repentance, it is customary to scrutinize one’s actions and to review the process of teshuva that was begun during Elul, the month before Rosh Hashana. Many people make extra efforts at self-improvement during the Ten Days. For instance:

Someone just starting to get more involved with Judaism may determine that the perfect time to begin eating kosher food is during the Ten Days.
Someone who is farther along in his/her involvement may decide to use the Ten Days to begin davening (praying) regularly.
Some people choose to strengthen themselves during the Ten Days by designating one hour a day during which they are particularly careful not to speak Lashon Harah (evil or gossip)

Tefila

The concluding words of the first blessing are changed to: Remember us for life, O King Who desires life, and inscribe us in the Book of Life — for Your sake, O Living G-d

The conclusion of the second blessing is changed to: Who is like You, merciful Father, Who recalls His creatures mercifully for life.

The third blessing is amended to end with the holy King instead of the holy G-d.

The ending of the blessing for the restoration of justice is changed to: the King of Judgment.

During the second to last blessing, we insert the line: And inscribe all the children of Your covenant for a good life.
The ending of the final blessing is changed to: In the Book of Life, Blessing, and Peace, good livelihood, may we be remembered and inscribed before You, we and Your entire people, the Family of Israel, for a good life and for peace. Blessed are You, G-d, Who makes peace.

Avinu Malkenu, “Our Father, Our King,” a petitional prayer asking G-d to intervene for our benefit, is recited during the morning and afternoon services.

Tzedakah

Tzedakah, charity, is an additional method one may seek to revise or avoid a negative verdict.
*Isn’t that bribing G-d? No. The life-long goal of the human being is to move closer to G-d. While Judaism has mandated laws about giving charity, these laws are meant to develop a person’s sensitivity to those in need. During the Ten Days, when we seek to show G-d that we have grown and are striving to be better, giving charity fortifies our fundamental giving instinct. Rather than bribing G-d, we are actively reminding ourselves of the direction in which we should be moving.

The Fast Of Gedaliah (Tzum Gedaliah)

The Fast of Gedaliah is observed to commemorate of the murder of Gedaliah the son of Achikam, which is described in the last chapter of the Second Book of Kings.  (Read more about The Fast of Gedaliah)

1) During the duration of the fast, eating and drinking are prohibited.
2) Unlike Yom Kippur and Tisha B’Av (The Day of Atonement and the Ninth of Av), bathing, anointing, marital relations and wearing leather are permitted.
3) Pregnant and nursing women, and others with health considerations may be exempt from fasting (please consult your rabbi). Children under the age of bar/bat mitzvah (13 for boys, 12 for girls) are not required to fast.
4) Special prayers are added to the synagogue services:

a) Selichot (Penitential Prayers) and Avinu Malkeinu (Our Father, Our King) are recited.
b) At the morning service, Exodus 32:11-14 and 34: 1-10 are read from the Torah.

5) If the third of Tishrei falls out on Shabbat, the fast is postponed until Sunday, as it is forbidden to fast on Shabbat (with the exception of Yom Kippur).

High Holidays

Participate in one of our renowned, interactive High Holiday Beginners Service programs or workshops this holiday season.  We’ll help you host a program with our comprehensive materials and videos or find one to attend.

Learn more

Rosh Hoshana

The Jewish New Year starts with a celebration of the very creation of the world and a recognition of humankind’s relationship to the Creator.

Learn more

Yom Kippur

The High Holidays culminate with The Day of Atonement.
There is a mysticism in that almost all Jews recognize the holiness of the day.

Learn more

Articles

Browse our collection of High Holiday Jewish Treats, filled with interesting stories and articles about Jewish histories and traditions.

Read more

Hows and Whys

ROSH HASHANA

Rosh Hashana, which literally means the Head of the Year, is the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashana is Yom Harat Olam, The Birthday of the World.

According to the Biblical narrative, it took six days to create the world, and on the sixth day G-d created Adam. During the first six days, animate and inanimate objects were formed, but the world was inactive until after the creation of the first human, who could appreciate and use G-d’s creations. Rosh Hashana is actually the day that Adam was created, but, even though there was prior creativity, it is nevertheless considered the birthday of the world because on this day the world came to life. With the creation of Adam, time was sectioned into hours, days, years, etc., and, therefore, we begin counting the years from this day.
Rosh Hashana is celebrated on the first and second days of Tishrei.
In the Torah, Rosh Hashana is given several names, each of which characterizes the day:

    • Yom Hazikaron – The Day of Rememberance – It is the day on which G-d recalls all of humankind’s deeds of the past year.
    • Yom HaDin – The Day of Judgement – It is the day on which G-d judges the actions of humankind.

What Happens on Rosh Hashana:

Rosh Hashana is a Yom Tov, a festival day, which is observed like Shabbat.

Shabbat and all Jewish holidays always begin at sunset on the evening before. On the Sabbath and Yom Tov (festival), candles are lit 18 minutes before sunset to welcome the holiday. On the second night of Yom Tov, candles are lit no earlier than one hour after sunset.
When Rosh Hashana begins on Friday night, the Shabbat candle-lighting procedure is as follows :
Two candles (minimum) are lit, then both hands are waved towards the face, symbolically drawing in the light of the candles and the sanctity of the Sabbath/Yom Tov. The eyes are covered and the blessing is recited. On the second night, Saturday night, the blessing is said first, without the Shabbat addition, and only then are the candles lit (from a pre-existing flame).

On Friday night, insert the bracketed words:

Baruch atah Ado-nai, Ehlo-haynu melech Ha-olam, asher kideshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzeevanu l’hadlik ner shel [Shabbat v’]Yom Tov.

An additional blessing is said on both nights of Rosh Hashana to acknowledge the good fortune of being able to experience the holiday:

Baruch atah Ado-nai, Ehlo-haynu melech Ha-olam, she’he’che’yanu v’kee’manu, v’hee’gee’anu la’zman ha’zeh
Blessed are you L-rd, our G-d ruler of the world, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season
Evening services are held in the synagogue.

The Festive Meal:

The Festival Evening Kiddush (blessing over wine), found in the holiday machzor (prayer book), is recited.

Motzee – After a ritual washing of the hands, the blessing is made over two whole challot.

    • Traditionally the challot for Rosh Hashana are round, symbolic of the cycle of the year, and sweet (often with raisins).
    • The challah is dipped in honey (as well as salt), symbolic of sweetness. The custom of dipping the challah in honey continues until the end of Sukkot.
    • The symbolic foods: Since Rosh Hashana is the day of judgement, it is customary to eat foods with symbolic meanings to invoke G-d’s blessing. We therefore utter a prayer and then eat these items. (Except for apples and honey, which is universally practiced, the exact items eaten depend on family custom.)

View the list and description of the Symbolic Foods

A festive meal is eaten, followed by the Grace After Meals with the addition of Y’aleh V’Yavo, “May there rise and come…” for the holiday.
On Friday night, the special Shabbat addition, r’tzai, is added before Y’aleh V’Yavo.

The Service

During Rosh Hashana, a special Rosh Hashana prayer book, called a machzor, is used.

The Torah reading for the first day of Rosh Hashana is the story of the birth of Isaac (Genesis 18). The Torah reading for the second day of Rosh Hashana is the story of the Binding of Isaac. According to tradition, both events occurred on Rosh Hashana (Genesis 22).

The Shofar Service

View the description of the Shofar Service

The Festival Day Kiddush (blessing over wine), found in the holiday machzor (prayer book), is recited.
Motzee – After a ritual washing of the hands, the blessing is made over two whole challot, the pieces of which are dipped in honey.
A festive meal is eaten, followed by the Grace After Meals with the addition of Y’aleh V’Yavo, “He will go up and he will come…”, for the holidays.

On Saturday afternoon, the special Shabbat addition, r’tzai, is added before Y’aleh V’Yavo.

The Festive Lunch

Mincha, the afternoon service is recited. (including the weekly Torah reading since it is also Shabbat).

Tashlich – The casting away of sins

It is customary after the afternoon service on the first day of Rosh Hashana, to go to a body of water in which there are live fish (or to a place where one can see the water) and to symbolically cast away one’s sins. While standing by the water, several verses from the books of Micha and Psalms are recited expressing the desire for the sins to be carried away.

When the first day of Rosh Hashana is Shabbat, as it is this year, tashlich is postponed until the second day.
If one does not perform tashlich during Rosh Hashana, for instance if one is unable to get to a body of water, it may be performed until Hoshana Raba (the seventh day of Sukkot).

Tashlich – The casting away of sins

It is customary after the afternoon service on the first day of Rosh Hashana, to go to a body of water in which there are live fish (or to a place where one can see the water) and to symbolically cast away one’s sins. While standing by the water, several verses from the books of Micha and Psalms are recited expressing the desire for the sins to be carried away.
When the first day of Rosh Hashana is Shabbat, as it is this year, tashlich is postponed until the second day.

If one does not perform tashlich during Rosh Hashana, for instance if one is unable to get to a body of water, it may be performed until Hoshana Raba (the seventh day of Sukkot).

The Second Day

The second day of Rosh Hashana begins one hour after sunset

The rituals and the prayers of the second day are the same as the first day, except for a change in the Torah reading and the Haftorah.

One should try to have a new fruit at the second night meal or wear a new outfit so that the repeated Shehecheyanu blessing will apply to those items and not be in vain.

Sleeping on Rosh Hashana

Some people will not sleep so that they will not be asleep during this crucial judgement period or to insure that they will not have “a sleepy year.”

High Holidays

Participate in one of our renowned, interactive High Holiday Beginners Service programs or workshops this holiday season.  We’ll help you host a program with our comprehensive materials and videos or find one to attend.

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Rosh Hoshana

The Jewish New Year starts with a celebration of the very creation of the world and a recognition of humankind’s relationship to the Creator.

Learn more

Yom Kippur

The High Holidays culminate with The Day of Atonement.
There is a mysticism in that almost all Jews recognize the holiness of the day.

Learn more

Articles

Browse our collection of High Holiday Jewish Treats, filled with interesting stories and articles about Jewish histories and traditions.

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Preparing for the New Year

Preparing for the
New Year

Elul — The Month Before Rosh Hashana

Table of Contents

1. Teshuva- Repentance

What is Teshuva?

Teshuva is translated as repentance, but it is actually a process of self-evaluation and self-improvement. The Hebrew month of Elul is the time to look over our weaknesses, see where we have transgressed, and do Teshuva. The Rambam (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, Maimonides 1135 – 1204) enumerates four primary steps to Teshuva:

Recognize and discontinue the action, which may be something as drastic as stealing or as common as losing one’s temper.

Verbally confess the action, thus giving the action a concrete existence in one’s own mind.

Regret the action. Evaluate the negative effects this action may have had on oneself or on others.

Determine not to do the action again. Picture yourself in the same situation and create a positive way to handle it.

Teshuva for a sin between a person and G-d:

When one has transgressed a mitzvah that does not affect another person, the Teshuva is purely between the person and G-d; and the four steps listed above are necessary for the repentance process.

Teshuva for a sin between fellow human beings

When one has caused harm to another person, whether by stealing from them, by embarrassing them or anything else, then Teshuva requires that restitution and reconciliation be arranged between those involved. Before G-d can forgive the perpetrator, the victim must express forgiveness. It is customary during the month of Elul for people to seek out those they may have harmed, intentionally or unintentionally, and ask for mechilah, forgiveness.

One must be sincere in their process of repentance and seek to repair the damage done the person, or at least attempt to do so.
A person is obligated to ask for forgiveness three times. After three refusals, the person is no longer held accountable for that action as (s)he has proven true regret. The person who will not accept a sincere apology, however, is guilty of bearing a grudge. There are even those who say the transgression transfers to the person who refused to grant forgiveness.

2. Customs of Elul

The Blowing of the Shofar

At the conclusion of morning services, starting on the second day of Elul, the month proceeding Rosh Hashana, it is customary for four “notes” to be sounded on the Shofar each morning.

The Shofar is not blown on Shabbat.

The Shofar is not blown on the day before Rosh Hashana

The blowing of the Shofar during the month of Elul is like a wake-up call to alert everyone that the Days of Judgment are approaching.

Selichot, special penitential prayers, are recited.
Selichot are recited just before dawn, except for the first night of selichot, when they are usually said just after midnight. The time to start saying selichot varies from community to community.

Sephardim generally begin saying selichot on the second day of Elul
Ashkenazim begin saying selichot on the Saturday night of the Shabbat that immediately proceeds Rosh Hashana. If there are fewer than four days between Shabbat and Rosh Hashana, selichot are begun on the Saturday night of the previous week.

Selichot may be said when praying alone, however, the Thirteen Attributes of G-d, which conclude the Selichot, are only said with a minyan.

Psalm 27 is added to the daily prayer service from the second day of Elul until Shemini Atzeret, the end of Sukkot. (This is an Ashkenazic custom) – It is generally added at the end of Shacharit (morning service) and Maariv (evening service), although some recite it after Shacharit (morning service) and Mincha (afternoon service).

High Holidays

Participate in one of our renowned, interactive High Holiday Beginners Service programs or workshops this holiday season.  We’ll help you host a program with our comprehensive materials and videos or find one to attend.

Learn more

Rosh Hoshana

The Jewish New Year starts with a celebration of the very creation of the world and a recognition of humankind’s relationship to the Creator.

Learn more

Yom Kippur

The High Holidays culminate with The Day of Atonement.
There is a mysticism in that almost all Jews recognize the holiness of the day.

Learn more

Articles

Browse our collection of High Holiday Jewish Treats, filled with interesting stories and articles about Jewish histories and traditions.

Read more

Yom Kippur

-

Yom Kippur

The Day of Atonement begins at sunset.  There is a mysticism in that almost all Jews recognize the holiness of the day.

The Sabbath of Sabbaths

The tenth day of the seventh month (Tishrei), Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins at sunset on the previous day. There is something mystical about Yom Kippur in that almost all Jews recognize the holiness of the day: On Yom Kippur, G-d graces the world with amnesty – all one needs to do is to come and ask for it.

When we spend the day talking with G-d, we are discussing, privately, all the things for which we need such amnesty, thereby cleansing ourselves and helping us recognize how we can improve our lives. In fact, the holiday is structured for us to build towards this connection with our inner-selves and with G-d.

High Holiday Videos

High Holiday 101

Web Series

These High Holiday videos are each between 9-12 minutes long and are geared towards anyone seeking to engage fellow Jews on the High Holidays. Whether you are a rabbi, or a lay leader, your observance is traditional or more progressive, you will benefit from these engaging videos.

View The Series

High Holiday Programs

Join or partner with us in one of our renowned High Holiday programs.

High Holiday Prayer Workshop

The High Holiday Prayer Workshop (HHPW) is designed for those who seek meaning in a service they find difficult to relate to and hard to understand. Based on the Abridged Beginners Service, the Prayer Workshop…

COVID-19 | Program Status

Out of an abundance of caution due to the spread of the Coronavirus and heeding the recommendation of medical professionals to forgo large gatherings for the time being, NJOP will not be going forward with our High Holiday Beginners Service programs this year. We hope to reinstate the initiative in future years. We pray for the speedy and complete recovery of all those who have contracted the virus and the safety of all others.

Thank you for your understanding.

High Holiday Beginners Service

Looking for something different for this year’s High Holidays? If you are one of thousands of Jews around the country who are curious but wary or hesitant about High Holiday services, NJOP invites you to start here…

Abridged High Holiday Beginners Service

A brief and dynamic program designed to appeal to, and inspire, those who may not have attended a High Holiday Service in some time. This brief program enables participants to appreciate the majesty and beauty of the Rosh Hashana and…

Send us message to have us contact you about running any of our High Holiday programs or call 1-800-44-HEBREW.