Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

Having lived in Jerusalem, I remember that the High Holy Days were always exciting, filling me with much respect as I joined our Jewish friends to prepare our hearts and minds for the two most important days in the Jewish year. 

The preparation for these days goes hand in hand with being challenged to use each day as an opportunity for growth and discovery.  The sound of the shofars everywhere is a beautiful reminder that all are coming together, focusing on these most important days.

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the two High Holy Days in Israel.  These days are about putting God first in our personal lives, and the recognition that God is in control of everything in our lives and the lives of our family.  These days are a time of celebration and reflection. 

First the Jewish people celebrate Rosh Hashanah—a time to reflect on the goals we want to achieve in life, the direction we want to move into, and the destination we want to reach.  One of the most popular customs involves eating apple slices dipped in honey—a wonderful treat shared by everyone with everyone.  It is believed that the apple brings healing, and the honey signifies the hope that the New Year will be sweet.

Yom Kippur is a day of fasting—an opportunity to look at the decisions we have made during the year and to reflect on our directions, decisions and choices.  Then, as needed, we ask forgiveness and enter the new year focused on having success.

People attend services at the synagogues reading the Scriptures and praying prayers of forgiveness.  It is a day—the only day in Israel—when everything becomes quiet.

These days are very important to our Jewish friends but also to those of us who stand with them and Israel in these important days.

L Shana Tovah (Greeting during the High Holy Days)

Shirley Lawrenson

NYC Aliyah Director
Operation Exodus USA

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