If you are observing Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which began this evening at nightfall, please accept best wishes from all of us at the Northwest Progressive Institute. We hope the new year is a sweet one for you!
Rosh Hashanah (meaning the head of the year) is one of the most important Jewish holidays. It’s the first of what are known as the Jewish High Holy Days that take place in autumn. The commandment of celebration for this occasion can be found in the Book of Leviticus — specifically Leviticus 23:23–25 (English text):
The Festival of Trumpets
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the people of Israel, saying: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of complete rest, a holy convocation commemorated with trumpet blasts. You shall not work at your occupations; and you shall present the Lord’s offering by fire.
Readers interested in Rosh Hashanah-themed Torah reflections may want to read Rabbi Eric Weiss’ 2014 commentary on the Jewish New Year. Weiss is the President & CEO of the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center. Rabbi Weiss was ordained in 1989; he is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz where he received a B.A. in Biology and Judaic Studies. Here’s a snippet from his reflections:
It is truly the ways we explore the terrain of our spirit that bring us the nourishment, even in the midst of physical limits, that allows us to move beyond the confines of our body.
A diseased cell cannot prevent praying, a defective heart pumping cannot prevent feeling your spirit flutter, and a compromised organ cannot prevent your soul from exploring inner terrain.
The Jewish holiday cycle is set. No matter how you feel, the various holidays come and go. This New Year may not be what you want for your self or others. But here it is. It is not a matter of making the best of it. It is a matter of doing what you can with it.
Even the seemingly smallest amount of spiritual reflection is good enough. After all, what is an insight but a quick yet clarifying moment that leaves a lasting mark.
Rosh Hashanah reads:
- Rosh Hashanah marks start of one hundred and seventieth year for Sacramento’s most storied synagogue (Sacramento Bee)
- A surprising new twist on apples and honey for Rosh Hashanah (L.A. Times)
- For a Rosh Hashanah meal of your dreams, three new cookbooks offer recipes from near and far (The Washington Post)
- Rosh Hashanah celebrates day of new creation and opportunity (Guest opinion for The Tennessean)
- All about the apples: seven, superb Rosh Hashanah puddings to get your new year off to a sweet start (The Jewish Chronicle)
Again, Shanah tovah!