What's Rosh Hashanah?

What's Rosh Hashanah?

How does one celebrate the Jewish New Year?
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At sundown on October 2nd, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year’s Day, began. Here’s a fun fact: “Rosh Hashanah” literally means “head of the year”! This Rosh Hashana was the “head” of year 5777 on the Jewish calendar.

Rosh Hashanah, the first of our High Holy Days, commemorates the creation of the world. It’s a time to reflect on the previous year and figure out ways to make the next year even better. This thought process is similar to the resolutions that people make on the secular New Year’s Day in January, but Rosh Hashanah is traditionally full of prayers and religious services instead of parties in Times Square.

But that’s not to say that Rosh Hashanah isn’t a celebratory day! Like other Jewish holidays (except for Yom Kippur, which is a day of fasting), getting together with family for a big feast is also traditional. On Rosh Hashanah, we eat apples dipped in honey to symbolize our hopes for a “sweet” new year. My family also puts extra honey in our challah bread, making an already yummy treat even tastier!

When I was little, I remember my family taking part in another Rosh Hashanah tradition: Tashlikh, or “casting off”. We went to a river and threw small pieces of bread into it, to symbolize “casting off” the past year’s misdeeds and misfortunes.

In the Torah, this holiday is referred to as “Yom Teruah” – “the day of the sounding of the shofar”. A shofar is a kind of trumpet made from a hollowed-out ram’s horn. There are different words for different kinds of notes to play on the shofar, including one long note (tekiah), three shorter notes (shevarim), many quick staccato notes (teruah), and one long loud note that’s held as long as you can blow (tekiah gedolah, literally “the big tekiah”). You can hear a shofar here. The sound of the shofar is meant to draw everyone’s attention and call us to the synagogue. Some say that the sound of the shofar is also a call for repentance, to get us thinking about things we did wrong in the past year. We have ten days to put those thoughts together, because then comes Yom Kippur, our Day of Atonement.

The Talmud says that between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, G-d decides which people’s names should be inscribed in the “Book of Life” or the “Book of Death” for the following year, based on past behavior and current repentance. For this reason, a traditional greeting on Rosh Hashanah is “L’shana tova tikateyvu” – “May you be inscribed for a good year.” Sometimes we shorten it to “Shana tova,” which simply means “Good year.” This is a little different than wishing someone a “happy” new year like we do on January 1st. We want the year ahead of us to be not superficially happy, but good – full of good deeds and achievements, and of opportunities to fix our past misdeeds.

Cover Image Credit: 123rf.com

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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The Notre Dame Cathedral–Such A Loss Of History And Beauty, But What A Gift It Was To Experience It

Reid shares her story as she is saddened for Paris and the church.

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After the massive fire that devastated large parts of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the 850-year-old cathedral's spire fell. French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation to share in the nation's sorrow but gave hope for the future. This includes the rebuilding of the cathedral together and making it more beautiful than ever. "The fire of Notre Dame reminds us that our story never ends. And that we will always have challenges to overcome. What we believe to be indestructible can also be touched," Macron said.

Tyler Reid

Among many others, Tyler Reid is saddened for Paris and the church. Although, she counts herself blessed to have seen it such a short time before it was destroyed. Reid, who was lucky enough to visit the amazing structure this past spring break, remarked:

My trip was filled with so many wonderful sites. Although, because Notre Dame carries the title of most-visited monument in Europe, my expectations were high. When I first walked up, there isn't one specific feeling I got; instead, it was more of a million thoughts running though my head. Once inside, looking at the massive stained glass windows combined with all the details in every crevice, it was hard for me to imagine people actually building this without the technology we have today. This hand crafted masterpiece really is so influential considering people still went there to worship, even after so much time has past and so many other cathedrals had been built. This proves how special the Notre Dame Cathedral really is. Due to my experience here, hearing about the fire hurt my heart, especially thinking about how some of the irreplaceable artworks and all of this history may be gone. This place truly influenced people, including me, and for it to be gone is a true tragedy.

Like Macron, Reid shares in the sorrow; although, for her, it was just from one visit. This proves the amazing impact the Notre Dame Cathedral had and hopefully will continue to have even after this devastation.

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