ST. LOUIS PARK, Minnesota — As the fall season begins, so does a new year on the Hebrew calendar, which will be commemorated this weekend by Jewish communities in Minnesota and around the world.
Rosh Hashanah begins Sunday evening and runs through Tuesday, which will be recognized by Jews this year as the official start of the New Year 5783. It is followed 10 days later by Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which begins at sunset on 4 October.
Although often referred to as the “High Holy Days”, a more literal definition of the Hebrew term Yamim Nora’im is the “Days of Awe”.
“We’ve learned to go through this process of taking stock of our souls, to really dig deep into what we’ve done, said, and thought over the past year,” said Matt Goldberg, a student rabbi at Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park, explained to TNZT. “It’s awe in our community, awe in our people and in the experience of our people.”
Traditionally, Jews commemorate the holiday by eating apples and honey to represent the fall harvest and wishes for a sweet New Year.
Over the past week at Beth El’s Aleph Preschool, kids have been enjoying that treat and creating art projects to take home.
“Dipping an apple in honey is a sweet feeling, a sweet taste, which is why we think about all the sweet things that can happen,” explains Sarah Confeld, a kindergarten teacher at Aleph. “We’re celebrating getting a fresh start, so we get to celebrate and we get to celebrate that we’re all making these wonderful choices for ourselves.”
While Rosh Hashanah is more festive, Yom Kippur is more somber as it includes a full day of prayer, while most adults fast from sunset to sunset as it is the last of the Days of Awe where Jews pray that their health and joy in the new Year.
“Awe happens in every relationship and every moment of this holiday,” Goldberg claimed. “Where we’ve been, everything we’ve been through leading up to this day, and yes, absolutely where we’re going.”