Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah
Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah are the holiest Jewish holidays. The 10 days between the are called the High Holy Days. They are celebrated in Tishri, the seventh month of the Jewish calendar. Out of all of the Jewish holidays, these two are the only ones that are not based on history. Instead, they are based on religious commandments found in the Torah.
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, when Jews eat sweet foods. It is celebrated the first and second days of Tishri. There are actually four events observed on Rosh Hashanah:
Day of Judgment
Jews ask God to forgive them for their sins.
Day of Shofar Blowing
The Shofar (horn of a Ram) is blown to signal the beginning of the High Holy Days.
Day of Remembrance
Jews remember their history and pray for Israel.
New Year's Day
There are prayers and sweet foods for a sweet new year.
On Rosh Hashanah, after the first prayers, Jews drop their sins (represented symbolically by bread crumbs) into a moving body of water with live fish. People often eat apples with honey to symbolize a sweet new year. They also eat challah (a braided bread) with honey, but the bread is baked in a circle, not a loaf because there is hope for the full circle of the coming year.
Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement, when Jews fast. The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur -- the High Holy Days, or Yamim Nora'im -- are when Jews ask for forgiveness from their sins. Yom Kippur is also called the Sabbath of Sabbaths. On Yom Kippur, Jews do not:
- Eat or drink
- Wearing scented perfumes or lotions
- Have marital relations
- Wear leather shoes
Author: Katie Ransohoff, high school student writer