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Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year)

The start of the Jewish Year is marked by the New Year Festival, Rosh Hashanah, on 1/2 Tishri (September), which lasts two days. It is one of the most important Jewish festivals. Like the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, it possesses a very serious character, distinct from the Sabbath and the pilgrim festivals. It reflects a time of divine judgement: "At Rosh Hashanah a verdict is served on men for their deeds in the year past, at Yom Kippur the verdict is sealed, and in the New Year it is executed".
The religious service is extended to include many additional prayers, mostly of a penitent nature praising God's mercy. The symbol of the festival is the shofar, or ramshorn, which is blown frequently during the synagogue service. It urges the congregation to deepen their faith, and at the same time symbolises Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac.
Typical of the meals served are honey, honeycakes, and dishes sweetened with honey, such as "Zimes" (sweet carrots), which symbolise the hope of a pleasant year to come.

© Jüd. Museum Frankfurt 1992-2002 /  Sources