Celebrating Rosh Hashana

Rosh Hashana (ראש השנה)  is the Jewish New Year. In Israel Rosh Hashana is a two day holiday, just like it is all around the world. It is a time of joy, but also of introspection. We look at our deeds from the past year and start the process to begin anew.

In Israel, Rosh Hashana is celebrated by eating special foods. After the Evening Service at the synagogue, the family has a “Seder.” (סדר)

The Kiddush (קידוש) blessing is said on the wine, and the blessing is said over the Challah(חלה) loaf, but instead of putting salt on the Challah, it is dipped(לטבול) in honey (דבש).   Each person takes a piece of bread with honey and takes a bite.

Significant Omens for the New Year

There are many foods that are considered good luck omens. Apples(תפוח), fennugreek, or carrots(גזר), leeks or cabbage(כרוב),  beets(סלק), dates(תמר), gourd (רוביא), pomegranate(רימון) and fish, and the head of a sheep (כבש) or fish(דג) are the most important foods. Each food has a special blessing said over it by all the people at the table. Some of the omens are positive and some are negative. For apples we wish each other a good and sweet New Year. For the Carrots or fenugreek, we want our merits to increase. Pomegranates are especially good, may our merits be as many as there are seeds in this fruit! The negative omens, beets, leek, and dates, signify that our enemies be decimated, removed, or consumed. The last omen of the Seder is the fish and the head of a sheep or a fish. These signify that we be fruitful and mulitply like fish and the head of the fish, that we should be like the head and not the tail. 

Have fun during Rosh Hashana, and remember to eat a bit of each food to savor the special flavor of the Sweet New Year!  May you have a Sweet New Year(שנה חדשה) with lots of blessings(ברכות) and new opportunites to learn Hebrew at Live-Hebrew.net! 

Vocabulary of Rosh Hashana

ראש השנה
שנה חדשה

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