In 2010 Rosh HaShanah will start on Thursday, the 9th of September and will continue for 2 days until Friday, the 10th of September.The Bible holidays begin at the sunset of the previous day, so Rosh HaShanah will begin on the sunset of Wednesday, the 8th of September.
Step 1 Excite
Why do you celebrate your birthday? Can you think of a way to celebrate the birthday of the world? Brainstorm and discuss what you could do to remember God’s creation. What kind of a party could you have? What types of decorations would be fun? What type of food would you serve? Why?
Step 2 Examine
The Bible gives instructions for a yearly festival, called Rosh Hashanah, to be held in the fall. The Jews celebrate the birth of the world during this festival. The lunisolar calendar, used to mark the events of the Jewish year, dates the creation of the world at 3761 B.C. In the Bible the day is referred to as Zikhron Teruah (“Memorial of Blowing”). In English we refer to it as “The Feast of Trumpets” (Leviticus 23:23-25; Numbers 10:10; 29:1-6).
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the most important of all Jewish Holidays and the only holidays that are purely religious, as they are not related to any historical or natural event.
The days observed during the ten-day period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur arecalled High Holy Days or the “Days of Awe.” Rosh Hashanah is celebrated the first and seconddays of Tishri. It is a time of family gatherings, special meals, and sweet-tasting foods.
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the most solemn day of the Jewish year and isobserved on the tenth day of Tishri. It is a day of fasting, reflection, and prayers.Judaism has several different new years. This is similar to the calendar year starting inJanuary, the new school year starting in September, and many businesses starting fiscalyears in July and September.
The Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah) is the new year for years. Jewish tradition holds that this day is the birthday of the world because the first partof Genesis, Bereishit, “in the beginning,” when changed around, reads Aleph b’ Tishri, or “on the first of Tishri.” Therefore, the Feast of Trumpets is known as the birthday of the world.
The Feast of Trumpets requires a preparing of the spirit. Each worshipper is to take time tolook back in self-examination over the events and emotions of the previous year. The shofar is blown each morning in the synagogue. Psalm 27 is recited twice a day.
New Year’s cards are sent, cantors and choirs practice, and a special collection is taken for the poor.
Most Jews celebrate this holiday as a time of offering forgiveness and seeking reconciliation with others (family, friends, and business associates). Everyone is to seek out anyone who feels hurt or wronged and “clear the air” by asking for understanding for any harsh words said, or deeds done, during the past year. If anyone has treated someone unfairly, this is the time to correct it and make amends.
The night before Rosh Hashanah, a special midnight service called Selichos (“Repentant Prayers”) is conducted, which helps to prepare the worshipper for the time of reverence and self-appraisal. The holiday begins in the evening. Much of the ritual takes place in the synagogue, but most Jews celebrate a joyous feast in their homes with family. It begins as all Sabbaths, by the woman lighting the festival candles. The woman usually stays home to prepare the holiday as the men go to the synagogue. The mood is mixed. It is a serious and somber yet festive occasion. Worshippers pull prayer shawls over their heads as they pray over God’s judgment.
To celebrate the sweetness of the new year, it is a custom to place sliced apples and a dish ofhoney on the dinner table before the Rosh Hashanah meal. Hallah, loaves of egg bread,which are normally braided on Shabbat, are baked in round shapes for Rosh Hashanah, to symbolize the cyclical nature of the year, and of life.
The Feast of Trumpets can be a very special time for believers in Christ. Our sins are not forgiven just when we “believe.” James 2:19 says Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. To be forgiven, we must have a repentant heart. We must come in submission to our heavenly father, asking for forgiveness, knowing that He will forgive us, as a father forgives his child. That forgiveness which we seek has been guaranteed— bought and paid for by Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the tree.
To learn more read the following:
- Rosh HaShanah (Feast of Trumpets)
- Celebrating Rosh HaShanah
- Rosh HaShanah in Bible Times
- When the Trumpet Sounds…
- Messiah in Rosh HaShannah!
Step 3 Expand
- Activity 1. The best way to learn about Rosh Hashanah is to celebrate it! Read Celebrating Rosh HaShanah and help prepare the celebration.
- Activity 2. Read Bible Stories Follow the annual Torah cycle’s readings for the first day of the Feast of Trumpets: Genesis 21:1-4, 5-12, 13-21, 22-27, 28-34; Numbers 29:1-6; 1 Samuel 1:1-2:10. The theme of the readings is “remembered” because Sarah and Hannah were remembered by God.
- Activity 3. Make a Scrapbook Page Create a scrapbook page depicting the symbols of Rosh Hashanah. Ideas: honey, apples, hallah bread, and ram’s horn.
- Activity 4. Make a Ram’s Horn. Make a papier-maché horn.
- Activity 5. Make New Year Cards. Download Rosh Hashanah card here.
- Activity 6. Blow a Trumpet- Learn to blow a ram’s horn. Listen to a ram’s horn at:
Step 4 Excel
Share what you have learned about the celebration of Rosh Hashanah with a friend or family member. Correct all written work to demonstrate correct punctuation and spelling, and effective use of grammar. Add corrected written work or any illustrations to your portfolio.
Hebrew Word Study