Rosh HaShanah is the Jewish New Year festival held on the first day of Tishri (usually in September), and ten days before the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). Tishri (Sept.) is believed to be the month where God created the world. Together these holidays are referred to as Yamim Nora’im (Days of Awe) or the High Holy Days.
During the Holy High Days God decides who will live and who will die in the coming year, so Jews take on the serious task of examining their lives and ask for forgiveness for any wrong they have done in the year past. This process is called teshuvah. It is a holiday filled with hope for the New Year.
The Rosh HaShanah prayer is one of the longest prayers of the year. It lasts from early in the morning to early afternoon. It is so long that it even has its own prayer book, this is called the Makhzor. The two best well known prayers are the Vnetaneh Tohkef- is about life and death and the Avienu Malkeniv- “Our Father Our King.”
There are many important symbols of the Rosh HaShanah. The first is the Shofar. This is an instrument made usually of rams’ horn and is blown 100 times each day to remind all Jews of the importance of the holiday. The second important symbol is the Tashlish. This is the ceremony on the first day of Rosh HaShanah. Jews toss bread into flowing water to symbolize the casting off of sins from the past year. Other important symbols are apples dipped in honey to represent hope for a sweet New Year and Challah. This bread is usually baked into braids but during this holiday is baked into round loaves to symbolize the continuation of life.