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In North America, many Jews prepare for Rosh Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish new year, by making to-do lists: acquiring seats for High Holiday services, inviting guests, purchasing a new fruit, and preparing chicken soup just like Bubbe used to make.
What shall we say before You, who dwell on high?...Yet from the beginning You set us apart to stand erect before You. (Gates of Repentance, p. 512 and 515)
As Rosh HaShanah approached last year, I was living in southwestern China, where I celebrated by eating apples and explaining the Jewish New Year to my Chinese roommate.