By Freedom Newspapers
Jews throughout the world are observing Rosh Hashanah, a 10-day period of remembrance and renewal, the beginning of a New Year, ending on Yom Kippur, which begins Friday.
These are days not only of remembrance but of judgment, when Yahweh examines and evaluates the good and evil deeds of all, making them the most solemn days of the Jewish year.
Among the traditions observed during Rosh Hashanah are the blowing of the ram’s horn, or Shofar, during services, symbolizing awakening from slumber and being prepared for the judgment to come.
It is also traditional to empty one’s pockets, often filled with pieces of bread, into a body of flowing water. This symbolizes the casting off one’s sins and seeing them swallowed up by the water, even as they are cast away by God’s mercy.
The traditional greeting on Rosh Hashanah is “ Shana Tova,” Hebrew for “a good year,” or “ Shana Tova Umetkah,” for “a good and sweet year.” Rosh Hashanah meals often include apples dipped in honey, symbolizing the wish for a sweet year.
The 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, known as the High Holy Days, are a period of reflection and introspection, during which Jews consider their sins and failings during the previous year and plan to correct them in the year to come.
It is also traditional to ask for forgiveness from those one has wronged during the past year.
All of us have done wrong, fallen short and hurt other people. So the idea of a time for introspective consideration, recommitment to higher values and starting again with a clean slate is of value not only to Jews but to people with any religion or no religion.