The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, has begun. The festive month of Tishri that now follows includes days of repentance and holidays. But how is the Jewish calendar actually calculated and what meanings are associated with it?
Jews in Israel and around the world will celebrate on 10. and 11. September their New Year Rosh Hashanah. According to the Jewish calendar, the year 5779 after the creation of the world begins on the eve – that is, on Sunday evening. Public life in Israel will be suspended during the festivities; security measures in the country will be tightened beforehand. Faithful Jews go to prayers in synagogues on New Year's Day and also to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. As a special sign, the shofar horn, a ram's horn, is blown.
Festive month of Tishri
Rosh Hashanah is celebrated in Judaism as a classic family festival. Relatives also travel from overseas for this purpose. Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv is particularly busy in the days leading up to New Year's Day. The families eat together, with desserts playing a special role. The newspapers are already overflowing with recipes and suggestions for the New Year's meal in the days leading up to it.
In Judaism, New Year's Day ushers in the festive month of Tishri. It begins with a succession of days of repentance and, after ten days, culminates in the Feast of Atonement, Yom Kippur (19. September), the highest holiday in Judaism. This is also celebrated by many secular Jews as a strict fasting day and an occasion to confess guilt and ask for forgiveness.
From 23. to 30. September is followed by the Feast of Tabernacles, Sukkot, which commemorates the Israelites' migration through the desert and also the end of the harvest, followed by the Feast of the Joy of Torah (2. October).
On Rosh Hashanah it is traditional to dress in white. Also the decoration of the synagogue is all in white, such as the curtain of the Torah closet. The color symbolizes purity and morality. It's about reflecting on becoming a better person.
For religious Jews, for example, the focus is on prayer, and the New Year's service, in which the men participate, is an essential part of the celebration. The shofar has a special significance. The winding ram's horn is blown four times during the service. So New Year is also called "Yom Teruah" in the Torah, the "day of blowing the shofar". The sound of the horn can be understood as a wake-up call to remind us of the covenant with God.