Saturday, July 21, 2007
The Jewish Holidays on my Refrigerator
The Jewish Holidays have arrived on my refrigerator, and what a good place for them. Lest we forget that for a good portion of the fall, the holidays dominate and are heralded starting now in mid July by announcements, plans for break fasts (for the fast after Yom Kippur) and the numerous dinners before on the erev (eve of) the holidays. A lot of eating of traditional food happens during these holidays and even when there is fasting it is bracketed by eating, much eating… got to stoke up for those few hours of foodlessness.
Slichot September 8 2007 are those prayers that mark the beginning of the period of "return" to God.. The Ashkenazic Jews, meaning those who basically came from European lands, begin Saturday night, one week before Rosh Hashanah - considering that there are at least four days left until Rosh Hashanah. If there are less than four days from Saturday night until Rosh Hashanah, then the S'lichot prayers are begun the week earlier. At my partners shul, the congregation gets together for a midnight service, lights many candles and prays and sings.
Rosh HaShanah ("Head of the Year") refers to the celebration of the Jewish New Year. September 12 and 13th The holiday is observed on the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, which usually falls in September or October, and marks the beginning of a ten-day period of prayer, self-examination and repentance, which culminate on the fast day of Yom Kippur. These ten days are referred to as Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe or the High Holy Days.
While there are elements of joy and celebration, Rosh HaShanah is a deeply religious occasion. The customs and symbols of Rosh HaShanah reflect the holiday's dual emphasis, happiness and humility. Special customs observed on Rosh HaShanah include; the sounding of the shofar (rams horn,) using round challah (bread,) eating apples and honey (and other sweet foods) for a sweet new year. My Sue makes teiglach, “doughies” in Yiddish that involves little round balls of dough which are cooked by boiling in honey and ginger.
Yom Kippur is the "Day of Atonement" and refers to the annual Jewish observance of fasting, prayer and repentance. This year occurring on September 22nd. This is considered to be the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. In three separate passages in the Torah, the Jewish people are told, "the tenth day of the seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be a sacred occasion for you: You shall practice self-denial?"(Leviticus 23:27 The Yom Kippur fast also enables us to put aside physical desires and to concentrate on spiritual needs through prayer, repentance and self-improvement. It is customary in the days before Yom Kippur for Jews to seek out friends and family whom they have wronged and personally ask for their forgiveness.
I'm sad to see the holidays appear so early on the refrigerator door. When they actually arrive I feel left out. I have to work when everyone is off. And I really am not a member of the club that all of our friends belong to. I resent all of the eating which makes me tired for the workday ahead.They are also a harbinger of fall and winter ahead.