LOS ANGELES (CNS) – At sundown today, Jews will begin the observance of Rosh Hashana, the two-day holiday marking the Jewish New Year.
Services ushering in the year 5774 on the Hebrew calendar will feature the blowing of the shofar, a ram’s horn.
Rosh Hashana is a festive time when Jews gather with family members to reflect on the past year and the new one that is beginning. Celebrants also eat festive meals featuring apples dipped in honey, symbolic of the wishes for a sweet year.
Rosh Hashana begins a 10-day period of penitence and contemplation leading to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, Judaism’s most solemn and somber day.
Jewish tradition holds that God records the fate of humankind in the Book of Life during the High Holy Days.
“Rosh Hashana begins a period of introspection, reflection and contemplation about who we have been in this past year and who we want to be in the year to come,” said Rabbi Jonathan Jaffe Bernhard of Adat Ari El in Valley Village and president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, part of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.
To Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles’ first elected Jewish mayor, “Rosh Hashana is a time to assess our lives and make changes for the better. That type of reflection can be beneficial for people of any faith.”
Although most congregations require membership and tickets for High Holy Days services, some synagogues and organizations have services and Rosh Hashana observances that are open to the public for no charge.
The Chai Center will hold a no-cost service at the Hi Point Studios at 5907 W. Pico Blvd., one block west of Fairfax Avenue, from 7-9 p.m., followed by what is billed as “The Largest Jewish New Year’s Eve Party” from 9-11 p.m.