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Rosh Hashanah 2022: Celebration and Connection

  • Posted on September 18, 2022
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes

As a New Englander, this is my favorite time of the year. The local farms are bursting with apples, pumpkins and cider donuts. Cozy sweaters and comforters are coming back into use with the cooler weather. And the landscape is getting ready to pop with the vibrant reds, oranges and yellows of fall.

All around us, the magic of the season is in the air.

As a Jew, this especially rings true as we approach the High Holy Days with the coming of year 5783 in the Jewish calendar. For me, the “Days of Awe,” Yamim Nora’im are like the harvest for the spirit – a bountiful period of renewal and repentance. It begins at sunset before the first day of the first month of the Jewish calendar (this year on the evening of Sept. 25) with the New Year’s celebration of Rosh Hashanah and ending 10 days later after sundown on Yom Kippur, our Day of Atonement (Oct. 5).

Rosh Hashanah is ripe with optimism, reflected in the associated Hebrew songs, prayers and foods. We dip apples in honey in the hope of “a year that is good and is sweet.” Challah is braided into a round shape to symbolize the cycle of life. And we enjoy a new/exotic fruit on the second evening to celebrate rebirth.

We have even more to celebrate this year as we can once again enjoy the traditions of the High Holy Days with our family and friends in person. Thinking back to where we were last year at this time (as a reminder, see Pam Greenstein’s excellent 2021 Rosh Hashanah Reflections), we’ve come a long way with the restrictions of COVID hopefully behind us. After a two-year pause, I especially look forward to walking to the ocean with my family and the temple on Rosh Hashanah for the custom of Tashlikh (“throw” in Hebrew); I know this ritual of casting your sins away by tossing pieces of bread into the water will feel even more significant in the company of over 100 people doing so together. It’s such a simple, cathartic way to begin the process of renewal as individuals and a community for the New Year.

With celebration comes inspiration. At the heart of the “Days of Awe” is the acknowledgment that we still have a long way to go. It is a time to reflect on how we are living, make amends to those we have wronged, and sow the seeds of promise for the year ahead. There is no better call to action for this than the blowing of the shofar (ram’s horn) in the synagogue 100 times during Rosh Hashanah services. Divided into three distinct sounds (the teki’ah, the shva’rim and the tru’ah), there are many interpretations for each – and the undeniable effect is to get our attention. While we have been able to experience this online during COVID through channels like our synagogue Facebook live streams or videos on sites like myjewishlearning.com, the primal sound of the shofar is truly the most powerful in person – and always gives me goosebumps.

As I reflect on the impact of the isolation and restrictions of COVID, I’m inspired this Rosh Hashanah to renew my connections with those I love. My New Year’s resolutions include planning a family reunion with distant relatives, rebuilding relationships with old friends (near and far) that I’ve neglected, and re-engaging with my Jewish community.

For me, a valuable source of ongoing motivation will come from Avanade’s Jewish Employee Network (JEN) and the many exciting events planned for our new fiscal year that began Sept. 1. I can’t wait for our first meeting of the new year on Sept. 20 for Rosh Hashanah – to celebrate, to connect, and to share in the magic of the season. L’shana Tovah to you all and best wishes for a sweet year.

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