NJ Jews Prepare for High Holy Days
Friday at Sunset marks the beginning of the holiest periods on the Jewish calendar.
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah kicks off a ten-day period in which Jewish people take time for personal reflection and repentance, as well as renewal. This is a period in which G-d determines our fate for the next year.
During the first two days of this period, we celebrate by lighting candles, host festive meals, that feature sweet delicacies like apples, challah, and honey to celebrate the sweetness of life, and we spend time with family and friends.
There's also much prayer during this period and the sounding of the Shofar, a ram's horn. The sound from the shofar is meant to get our attention and bring us to G-d. It is a reminder of Abraham's loyalty to and sacrifice for G-d.
The holiday culminates with the holiest day of the year for Jewish people, Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is the day of atonement. Starting at sunset on the 24th and lasting through sunset the 25th, Jewish people fast, and refrain from modern luxuries such as leather, lotions, and intimacy.
The meaning of the fast is to focus solely on yourself and your relationship with G-d. There is much prayer and repentance during this time.
Once the fast is over on the 25th at sunset, family and friends gather to "break the fast." These celebrations are huge feasts that usually include bagles, lox, cream cheese, babka and other sweet foods.