Jews in the Southland and around the world today celebrated the first day of Rosh Hashana, the two-day holiday marking the Jewish New Year.
Services ushering in the year 5773 on the Hebrew calendar featured the blowing of the shofar, a ram’s horn.
Rosh Hashana is a festive time when Jews gather with family members to reflect on the past year and the one getting under way. Celebrants eat festive meals including apples dipped in honey, symbolic of the wishes for a sweet year.
Rosh Hashana begins a 10-day period of penitence and contemplation leading to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, Judaism’s most solemn and somber day.
Jews believe that God records the fate of humankind in the Book of Life during the High Holy Days, a time when they ask for forgiveness both from God and those they’ve wronged.
“This is a joyful time for millions of people around the world, but Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are also opportunities for reflection,” President Barack Obama said in remarks in advance of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. “They represent a chance to take stock of our lives and look forward to the coming year with clear eyes and renewed purpose.
“In that spirit, the Jewish tradition teaches us that one of the most important duties we have during this period is the act of reconciliation. We’re called to seek each other out and make amends for those moments where we may not have lived up to our values as well as we should,” he said.