Rosh HaShanah

Rosh HaShanah (literally, “Head of the Year”) is the Jewish New Year, a time of prayer, self-reflection, and repentance.

Rosh HaShanah's Origins

Rosh HaShanah (literally, “Head of the Year”) is the Jewish New Year, a time of prayer, self-reflection, and t'shuvahT'shuvahתְּשׁוּבָה"Return;" The concept of repentance and new beginnings, which is a continuous theme throughout the High Holidays. . We review our actions during the past year, and we look for ways to improve ourselves, our communities, and our world in the year to come. The holiday marks the beginning of a 10-day period, known as the Yamim Nora-im (“Days of Awe” or “High Holidays”), ushered in by Rosh HaShanah and culminating with Yom Kippur (the “Day of Atonement”). Rosh HaShanah is widely observed by Jews throughout the world, often with prayer and reflection in a synagogue. There also are several holiday rituals observed at home.

Rosh HaShanah is celebrated on the first day of the Hebrew month of TishreiTishreiתִּשְׁרֵיSeventh month on the Hebrew calendar; Rosh HaShanah falls on the first day of this month. , which – because of differences in the solar and lunar calendar – corresponds to September or October on the Gregorian or secular calendar. Customs associated with the holiday include sounding the shofarshofarשׁוֹפָרRam’s horn most commonly blown throughout the month of Elul and during the High Holiday season. , eating a round challahchallahחַלָּהA braided egg bread eaten on Shabbat and festivals. Today challah comes in many flavors and varieties, including chocolate chip, gluten free, and vegan. Plural: challot. , and tasting apples and honey to represent a sweet New Year.

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laptop computer, prayerbook, tallis, candles, and flowers on a table

Attend Virtual High Holiday Services

Many congregations offer virtual High Holiday services and programs for non-members. 

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The URJ Reflection Project

Explore this meaningful new way to welcome the High Holidays.

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Apples and Honey, foods that are integral to the customs and rituals of the Jewish holiday of Rosh HaShanah

Holiday Greetings

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Social Action Guide for the High Holidays

The High Holidays are a time of personal reflection and repentance and an opportunity to reaffirm the Jewish tradition’s longstanding commitment to tikkun olam (repair of the world).

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