Rosh Hashanah: All You Need to Know

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Rosh Hashanah: All You Need to Know

Rosh Hashanah means “head of the year” in Hebrew. It is a two-day holiday marking the first and second days of the Jewish year. This year (2019) Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Sunday, September 29, and continues through nightfall on Tuesday, October 1.

Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of reflection and repentance that culminates in the Yom Kippur holiday, also known as the Day of Atonement. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the two “High Holy Days” in the Jewish religion.

Rosh Hashanah Celebrations

On Rosh Hashanah, family and friends gather for special meals and sweet foods to symbolize the hope of a sweet new year. Below are the unique ways that this holiday is celebrated.
  • Blowing of the Shofar (ram's horn) It is used as a call to repentance during the High Holy Days. The shofar is blown in synagogue services on Rosh Hashanah and at the very end of Yom Kippur.
  • Lighting candles each evening As with every major Jewish holiday, women and girls light candles on each evening of Rosh Hashanah and recite the appropriate blessings. On the second night (or if lighting after nightfall on the first night), make sure to use an existing flame.
  • Eating festive meals with sweet delicacies during the night and day
      • Kiddush over wine or grape juice. Kiddush means "sanctification," and is a blessing recited over wine or grape juice to sanctify this Jewish holiday.
      • Round, raisin challah bread dipped in honey. The bread (traditionally baked into round challah loaves, and often sprinkled with raisins) is dipped into honey instead of salt, expressing the wish for a sweet year.
      • Apples dipped in honey. Furthering the sweet theme, it is traditional to begin the meal on the first night with slices of apple dipped in honey. Before eating the apple, you make the ha’eitz blessing and then say, “May it be Your will to renew for us a good and sweet year.”
      • The head of a fish and other foods symbolizing the wishes for the coming year. It is customary on the first night of Rosh Hashanah to partake of the head of a fish, ram, or other kosher animal. This symbolizes the desire to be the "head and not the tail" during the coming year.
      • A new fruit. The tradition is to eat something that you have not tasted since the last time it was in season. The most common fruit that is eaten during Rosh Hashanah is the pomegranate.
    • Performing Tashlich This is a brief prayer said at a body of fresh water on the first afternoon of Rosh Hashanah. People throw crumbs or pieces of bread, symbolizing their sins, into flowing water.
    • Attending services in synagogue Much of the day is spent in the synagogue. The evening and afternoon prayers are similar to the prayers said on a regular holiday. However, the morning services are significantly longer.
    • Refraining from work Rosh Hashanah is supposed to be spent thinking and reflecting on your own behavior. Therefore work is not permitted during Rosh Hashanah because it helps with the reflection element.
    • Saying the proper greeting The common greeting during Rosh Hashanah is L'shanah tovah which is Hebrew "for a good year".

    Michael Aram gold apple honey pot

    Top Gifts for Rosh Hashanah

    Invited to someone’s house for a Rosh Hashanah meal and looking for an appropriate gift? At Devon's Diamonds & Decor, we carry a large selection of gifts for Rosh Hashanah in Boca Raton. Here are some great Rosh Hashanah gift ideas for your host:

    apple and honey dish


    During Rosh Hashanah, it is traditional to eat apples dipped in honey. With hopes for a sweet and fruitful year ahead, this decorative set makes an awesome gift for your host. Looking for a unique apple and honey dish in Boca Raton? Check out Devon's Diamonds & Decor in Royal Palm Place.


      kiddush cup


    Shabbat and Jewish holiday meals begin with a blessing over a cup of wine. Kiddush cups are a beautifully decorated wine vessel in which that wine is held in. This is a great gift because it can be used all year round. Stop by our store to view our selection of Kiddush cups in Boca Raton.


      kiddush fountain set


    Once the wine has been blessed, the Kosher wine gets poured into the large Kiddush cup at the top and the wine cascades through the fountain and fills the smaller cups below. Each participant at the blessing gets a cup to sample the sanctified wine. Another great gift to be used year round, for Shabbat and other Jewish holidays.


    challah cover  


    A challah cover is a special cloth used to cover the loaves of challah at the beginning of the Rosh Hashanah meal. What is great about this gift is that it can be used for not only this holiday but for other major Jewish holidays and Shabbat as well. If you are looking for challah covers in Boca Raton, we carry a large variety of styles and materials.
    challah board  


    The challah board is a familiar sight at Jewish holiday meals. It is designed to hold challah bread as well as symbolize God’s commitment to support his chosen people. A challah board is as much a decorative item as it is functional. Find the perfect challah board in Boca Raton at Devon's Diamonds & Decor.


    pomegranate honey dish   


    Pomegranates are highly symbolic in Jewish tradition. By eating a pomegranate, it expresses the wish for a year filled with as many merits as a pomegranate has seeds. Another reason that Jewish people eat pomegranates is because they are said to have 613 seeds: one for each of the 613 commandments they keep. A pomegranate shaped dish not only makes a great centerpiece while holding your honey on Rosh Hashanah but it can also be used for candies or nuts throughout the year.
    candle holders  


    Girls and all women who are in the house light candles to usher in each night of the holiday. This also goes for Shabbat and most of the Jewish holidays, making candleholders another multi-purpose gift. Shop a range of traditional to modern candleholders in Boca Raton at Devon's Diamonds & Decor. 
    Michael Aram gold pomegranate seder plate


    Most people associate a seder plate with the Passover holiday and they associate apples dipped in honey with Rosh Hashanah. But well before apples entered the scene, there was a seder plate on the Rosh Hashanah table. These are the following foods that are traditionally eaten, though individual customs vary:
    • Beets
    • Dates
    • Leeks
    • Pomegranates
    • Pumpkins
    • Beans
    • Most common, a piece of apple is dipped in honey.

    Rosh Hashanah seder plates in Boca Raton are becoming a big deal. Often you will find them decorated in a pomegranate style like this Michael Aram Pomegranate seder plate shown above. 


    Where Can I Buy Rosh Hashanah Gifts in Boca Raton?

    While it is not obligatory to bring a gift for Rosh Hashanah, it is definitely a thoughtful gesture that will certainly be appreciated. Whether you are looking for a gift for Rosh Hashanah or you simply want to upgrade the style of your existing Rosh Hashanah items, Devon's Diamonds & Decor has got you covered. We carry a unique selection of Judaica gifts for every holiday and occasion. Rosh Hashanah is just around the corner! Get your loved ones the best Rosh Hashanah gifts in Boca Raton at Devon's Diamonds & Decor.

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