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High Holy Days

The Jewish New Year, known as Rosh Hashanah or “head of the year” in Hebrew, is one of the holiest days of the year.  Celebrating the first of the month of Tishrei, Rosh Hashanah is symbolized by apples and honey, representing a sweet new year.  The Reform movement, and Congregation Shaare Emeth, celebrate Rosh Hashanah for one day, while some other communities celebrate for two days.

Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, takes place 10 days after Rosh Hashanah.  It is a time of confession, fasting, repentance, and prayer where Jews typically participate in tashlich and teshuvah.

Tashlich is the ritual of casting pieces of bread, which symbolize our sins, into a body of water usually containing fish.  According to tradition, fish swim with their eyes open at all times, just as we want G-d’s eyes to be watching over us always.  By symbolically casting away our sins, we express a desire to cast aside negativity and start anew.

Teshuvah is repentance.  This is the process of thinking about our past mistakes that we hope not to repeat in the future.  We apologize and ask forgiveness from those whom we have wronged, are asked to forgive those who have wronged us, and ask for forgiveness from G-d.

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