Posted by: viewfromtheriva | October 3, 2016

Split’s Jewish community welcomes in the new year, 5777!


Last night, the Jewish community here in Split celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, with an ecumenical gathering at the synagogue that included the city’s Muslim imam and his wife, visiting tourists from Buenos Aires and one of my good friends, a Catholic.

Thefestive Rosh Hashana table with traditional sweets, cakes and wine

The festive Rosh Hashanah table with traditional sweets, cakes and wine

As a kid growing up in a small town in northern New Jersey where there were only a handful of Jewish families, I remember being taken to the synagogue 20 miles away for this holiday and marveling at the rabbi blowing a hollowed our ram’s horn–truly a blast from the past!  So when I saw the shofar  (the Hebrew name for this horn), on the table last night, I was really tempted to blow it.   It was small–but as you can see, they can be enormous!

Like a lot of other new year celebrations, Rosh Hashanah is a day to make a lot of noise—literally a “day [of] shouting/blasting”, sometimes translated as the Feast of Trumpets.

It’s also the first of the Jewish High Holy Days, ending with the Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, where religious Jews fast for the day as a sign of their piety to seek forgiveness for transgressions from the previous year. 

Rosh Hashanah is surely the “sweetest” Jewish holiday of the year.  A day where we all celebrate the eating of symbolic foods such as apples dipped in honey to evoke a “sweet new year”, dates, pomegranates, wine, challah (traditional braided bread eaten on the Sabbath and holidays) and other goodies.

Traditional serving of challah, a twisted bread, dipped in honey for hopes of a "sweet new year"

Traditional serving of challah, a twisted bread, dipped in honey for hopes of a “sweet new year”

Before each sweet, a short prayer is said to give thanks.  It was a lovely evening–a celebration that has gone on for thousands of years and a living reminder of how tradition plays such an important role in all of our lives, no matter what our faith.

 

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