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Rosh Hashanah

Home > Holidays > Rosh Hashanah's Guide to Rosh Hashanah
The Month of Elul
Ten Days of Repentance

Rosh Hashanah: Overview
September 30 - October 1, 2000
1-2 Tishrei 5761

Throughout the month of Elul that precedes Rosh Hashanah, Jews look closely at themselves and their actions during the previous year. They ask God for forgiveness and mercy. They ask family and friends for forgiveness. On Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, the dress rehearsal is over. The real thing is here.
J.H.M. Photography

Rosh Hashanah-also known as Yom HaDin, the Day of Judgment-begins an intense ten-day period in the Jewish calendar that concludes on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. During these ten days of repentance, tradition teaches, God makes decisions on who will live and who will die during the year ahead. Prayers in synagogue focus on repentance and ask God for inscription in the book of life and for a good year.

Rosh Hashanah falls on the first two days of the month of Tishrei. Unlike other Jewish holidays, where Israel celebrates only one day while the Diaspora celebrates two, Rosh Hashanah lasts for two days in Israel as well; Jewish tradition teaches that Rosh Hashanah is really one long day. Reform Jews celebrate only one day of Rosh Hashanah. Though the Hebrew calendar follows the lunar cycle, the month of Tishrei typically falls in September.

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known together as Yamim Nora'im, the Days of Awe, or simply, the High Holy Days. Rosh Hashanah marks both a joyous and somber period. Worshipers joyously feel closer to God and are hopeful that their prayers will grant them health, happiness and prosperity; it's also a time when families get together for meals and in synagogue. At the same time, the burden of God's judgment weighs heavily on the entire period.

It is common on Rosh Hashanah to see people in their finest clothes, often wearing something new. Many men don white kittels (robes) to symbolize purity and God's cleansing of sins. In synagogue, the curtains for the ark and coverings for the Torah scrolls and bimah (Torah reading table) are switched to white.

10 Days of Penitence Jewish Torah Audio
Aish Ha Torah: High Holidays
Akhlah: Children's Learning Network
Bar-Ilan Essays on Rosh Hashanah
Chabad: What is Rosh Hashanah
Celebrate with JOI: Rosh Hashanah
Everything Jewish: Rosh Hashanah
Har Etzion: Rosh Hashanah High Holidays on the Net
JCN: ASCII Rosh Hashanah to You
JCN: Rosh Hashanah
The Jewish Agency for Israel: Rosh Hashanah
Jewish Holiday Consumer: Rosh Hashanah
Jewish Magnes Museum: Sounding the Shofar
JTS: Rosh Hashanah
Judaism 101: Rosh Hashanah

Misrash Ben Ish Hai (Sepharadic customs)
MZNET: New Year "Tune-Up"
NCSY Publications: Rosh Hashanah
NCSY: Rosh Hshanah Articles
Nishmas: The Service of Rosh Hashanah
Ohr Somayach: Rosh Hashanah
OU Presents Rosh Hashanah
Project Genesis: Elul and Rosh Hashanah
Rosh Hashanah in Cyberspace
Rosh Hashonoh Gateway
Short Hebrew Essays on Rosh Hashanah
Sounding the Shofar of Mercy
Torah from Dixie: Rosh Hashanah Articles
Torah Tots: Fun and Games
Virtual Beit Midrash: Rosh Hashanah Journal
Virtual Jerusalem: Educator's Guide
WZO: Holidays with a twist

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