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  • Shayna Shapiro

5, 4, 3, 2, 1... Reflecting on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: A Journey of Renewal and Forgiveness

5, 4, 3, 2, 1... Happy New Year!

I know what you're thinking, it's only September. But for those of us in the Jewish community, we kicked off our Jewish New Year, also known as Rosh Hashanah, on the evening of September 15th.

Rosh Hashanah is considered the "Head of the Year" and is a time for reflection and prayer. We take this opportunity to look back on the past year in our lives and communities. It's a widely celebrated holiday in our synagogues, where we sound the shofar, enjoy delicious challah, and savor the sweetness of the New Year with apples and honey.

Rosh Hashanah also marks the beginning of a 10-day period called the "High Holidays," which culminates with Yom Kippur, which began the evening of September 24. The festival begins at sundown with what is known as Kol Nidre and ends the following evening.Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, involves fasting, prayer, and repentance. It's considered the holiest day of the year. It's a moment in Jewish time where we dedicate our mind, body, and soul to reconnecting with our communities and God. We're also commanded to forgive, to let go of any resentment we may hold towards those who have wronged us. Only then can we turn to God and seek forgiveness. Jewish congregations spend the eve of Yom Kippur and the entire day in prayer and meditation. Most members of the Jewish community fast from eating, and other duties, including cleaning, driving and working.

One of my fondest childhood memories was celebrating these special days with my family and members of my synagogue. It has truly shaped my own belief system as an adult.

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