IJSS Observes Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Yes, We Have a Lake!

Melanie Einbund

Institute for Judaic Services and Studies (IJSS) trusts that our members and friends are looking forward to the Jewish High Holy Days. IJSS will be having in-person services for Rosh Hashanah (begins at sundown, Sept. 6) and Yom Kippur (begins at sundown, Sept. 15). IJSS members will be sent the High Holiday schedule in August.

IJSS is a small and welcoming congregation. We value our members and their needs. If you have questions or wish to join our congregation, contact Joan Elder at 520-360-1478 or Seth Eisner at 520-818-6340 for information.

We are excited that Rabbi Laura Harari will be officiating our religious services. The Rabbi has prepared services that are traditional, include the participation of congregates, and are enlightening. Sarah Bolt, our cantorial soloist, and our pianist, David Mancini-Conway, are working together to provide High Holiday music. Each of them has solid Judaic music experience.

High Holiday news will be sent to IJSS members in August.

Some High Holiday Background

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is one of the holiest days in Judaism. Meaning “head of the year” or “first of the year,” Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates in the Yom Kippur holiday, also known as the Day of Atonement. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the two “High Holy Days” in the Jewish religion. A shofar—a trumpet made from a ram’s horn—is an essential and symbolic part of the call to repentance for both holidays.

Yom Kippur—the Day of Atonement—is considered the most important holiday in the Jewish faith. The holiday marks the culmination of the 10 Days of Awe. According to tradition, it is on Yom Kippur that God decides each person’s fate, so Jews are encouraged to make amends and ask forgiveness for sins committed during the past year. The holiday is observed with a 25-hour fast and special religious services.

High Holiday Customs and Symbols

Apples and honey: One of the most popular Rosh Hashanah customs involves eating apple slices dipped in honey. Ancient Jews believed apples had healing properties, and honey signifies the hope that the new year will be sweet.

Round challah: On Rosh Hashanah, the challah is often baked in a round shape to symbolize the cyclical nature of life. Raisins are added to the dough for a sweet new year.

Honey cake with honey as its main ingredient is referenced in ancient texts, including the reference to Israel as the land of milk and honey, and symbolizes a sweet new year.

“L’shana tovah”: Jews greet each other on Rosh Hashanah with the Hebrew phrase “L’shana tovah,” which translates to “for a good year.” This is a shortened version of the Rosh Hashanah salutation “L’shanah tovah tikatev v’taihatem” (“May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year”).

We’ve Got A Lake!

After Rosh Hashanah morning services, those who wish will venture to a moving body of water with their breadcrumbs to observe Tashlich.

Tashlich: is the casting off of sins by throwing pieces of bread into a flowing body of water while reciting prayers. As the bread, symbolizing the sins of the past year, is swept away, those who embrace this tradition are spiritually cleansed and renewed.

If you would like to join me, contact me at [email protected].

IJSS wishes the community A Good Year—L’shana tovah.