The Jewish New Year begins at sundown on Wednesday the 20th of September and ushers in the “Ten Days of Repentance” for Jews, not only in Mason City, but worldwide. The ten days refers to the number of days between Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and the holiest day of the Jewish Calendar, Yom Kippur the Day of Atonement.
Some obvious questions come to mind:
“Why is it 5778 when it is 2017?” – There is the Christian Calendar and the Jewish Calendar. The Jewish Calendar marks the date from the creation of the world as determined by counting the number of years outlined in the Bible. That would seem to conflict with science that says the world was “created” millions of years ago. But, let’s not confuse religion and science. Long ago that argument was settled. You see, the scientific method is better at addressing “how” the world was created while the Torah (Bible) explores the “meaning” of creation. It is this meaning of creation that we address each day…and, in truth, each day.
“The Bible says Rosh Hashanah falls on the ‘first day of the seventh month’. How can it be the New Year?” – Great question and to understand we have to know that the first month in the Jewish Calendar is the month of Nisan which falls in the spring. It is the month when Jews celebrate the Passover the month of our redemption.
“Why Ten Days and what does that mean?” – The rabbis say that the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur offer us the opportunity to change. These are the days we ask for forgiveness of those whom we have wronged and to “mend fences” with those whom we may have slighted. It is a time of prayer, introspection and hope.
“Is Rosh Hashanah a Party?” – The brief answer is “sort of”. For all the seriousness of the season Jews do have festive meals and specific foods. However, you won’t find us with party hats and horns at the local bar. But, we do blow the Shofar (rams horn) on Rosh Hashanah to “wake our souls from slumber” and announce the Day of Atonement is approaching. Oh, and the honey and apple? May you have a sweet new year!
“What is Yom Kippur?” – The Torah tells us this is the day of judgement when the Almighty determines who among us will live and who will die. It is a day spent in prayer and it is also a 25 hour fast. Traditional Jews do not eat or drink during Yom Kippur and when it is over (at sundown on the 30th of September) we have a “Break-The-Fast”….sounds much like “breakfast” yes?
In Mason City Jews and non-Jews will gather for services at Adas Israel, 620 North Adams, on Wednesday the 20th of September at 7:15PM for the start of Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah morning services start at 10:00AM on Thursday the 21st and afternoon services will begin at 3:00PM.
Then on Friday the 29th of September services will begin at 7:15PM with the haunting Kol Nidre Prayer. On Saturday the 30th Yom Kippur Morning Services start at 10:00AM. Afternoon services begin at 5:00PM and Break-The-Fast is at sundown.