Today we celebrate the Rosh Hashanah – Jewish New Year. It is a wonderful and solemn holiday. Rosh Hashanah is the only Jewish Holiday that lasts 2 days both in Israel and outside of it. These are the days when we crown our G-d, our King and accept his kingship over us. These are the days when the decisions are made about what will happen to us in a new year. Who will live, and who will dye. Who will be healthy and who will be ill. Who will have children and who will not. Who will be set financially and for whom money will be a struggle. This is the time to repent and the time to love each other and feel connected to G-d.
My school is out for the few days, because of Holiday. We have tried discussing it yesterday in ulpan (the school, where I am learning Hebrew). Well, what we got instead of discussion was monologue, by me. Not yet in Hebrew. It turned out that most of my classmates know absolutely nothing about what a Jewish New Year is and why it was now. Actually, they are pretty unsure what being a Jew means. Also their theories about it were interesting. Most of my classmates are Jewish, all of them are fresh from the countries of former Soviet Union. And for the majority of them I am the first religious person they got to talk to.
I am meeting quite a few stereotypes – some silly, some hurtful. But it is very rewarding to be able to tell them something and see them going “Ah! Now I know what happened when…” I answered questions ranging from what to do with the tail of the fish (we make sure not to eat it on Rosh Hashanah), to what do I wear to synagogue, to Do Jews pray for the sick (yes they do). My favorite question was – how does G-d knows I am Jewish? What a wonderful question it is. And there are so many different answers to it. Especially since the person, who asked did not know she is Jewish until just a few years ago.
To learn more about the laws and customs of Rosh Hashanah please visit chabad.org.
I wish all of my readers a good and sweet year! A year of Peace! A year of self-discovery! A year of tranquility and joy!