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Rosh Hashanah 2023: Jewish New Year Celebration Begins at Sundown

Rabbi demonstrates the shofar, a central symbol of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which begins on the Jewish Sabbath.

In the town of Northbrook, Illinois, Rabbi Meir Moscowitz from Lubavitch Chabad recently showcased the shofar, a traditional musical instrument crafted from a ram's horn. This instrument holds great significance as it is blown during synagogue services on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and at the conclusion of Yom Kippur, which is ten days after Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah is a pivotal holiday in the Jewish faith and this year, it coincides with the Jewish Sabbath.

Rabbi Moscowitz explains that the shofar serves as a means for the Jewish community to reach out to God and express their desire for a renewed connection and relationship. It symbolizes the start of a new year and the congregation seeks to establish a profound bond with the divine. The observance of Rosh Hashanah extends beyond blowing the shofar, as many Jewish individuals participate in synagogue services and indulge in sweet treats, signifying their hope for a pleasant and prosperous year. In preparation for this important holiday, members of the congregation have come together to assemble packages that will be distributed on Friday.

Rosh Hashanah is not only a time of celebration but also a period for introspection and seeking forgiveness for past transgressions. According to the Jewish calendar, it typically falls in September or October, and this year, it coincides with the start of the Jewish Sabbath. Lighting candles during this holiday symbolizes the presence of light and peace within the home, reminding individuals of their purpose in the world and their relationship with their creator.

Prayer plays a central role in Rosh Hashanah, and the Jewish community utilizes a comprehensive 320-page prayer book specifically for the two-day observance that begins at sundown on Friday night. This extensive prayer book allows individuals to engage in deep reflection, express their hopes and aspirations for the coming year, and seek forgiveness for any wrongdoings. It serves as a guide for the congregation to connect with their spirituality and reaffirm their commitment to their faith.

In conclusion, Rosh Hashanah holds immense significance in the Jewish faith, marking the start of a new year and providing an opportunity for individuals to reflect, seek forgiveness, and establish a stronger connection with God. The shofar, synagogue services, sweet treats, candle lighting, and extensive prayers all contribute to the rich tapestry of traditions and rituals observed during this holiday. As the Jewish community in Northbrook, Illinois, prepares for Rosh Hashanah, they embrace the spirit of renewal and hope for a sweet and meaningful year ahead.

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