New column from Edith: the Jewish New Year – 5782

By Edith Morgan

It‘s early this year, beginning on the eve of September 6, which is the first day of Tishrei on the lunar calendar which is used to decide when Jewish holidays will be celebrated. All Jewish Holidays begin at sundown, so the Rosh Hashanah festivities begin then and last for two days. It is a time of joyous get togethers of families, feasting and wishing everyone a full and sweet year, usually symbolized by the sharing of apple slices (signifying a round, full year), and honey (signifying a sweet year).

The past year has been a difficult one for Jews everywhere – with the resurgence of the COVID virus in its newer forms and the increase in anti-semitic attacks in so many places. And, for me, the continual lies about Israel and the Middle East which too often are used to excuse the constant rocket attacks that Israelis suffer. The new year always brings with the hope that at last a real peace will break out and that Israel’s neighbors will at last get along with each other and with Israel.

There are fewer than 20 million Jews in the world and fewer than 8 million of them live in the tiny nation of Israel. And so my fervent wish is that last this coming year we can see a real peace come over that area, and the task of building a safe and prosperous environment for all can be started.

As we celebrate the coming of the year 5782, we should take time to remember our history – as the oldest continuous culture/religion in the known world. As far as I know, only China, which has more than 4,000 continuous years has been around so long.

Nine days after the New Year begins, Jews observe the very important occasion of Yom Kippur, known here as the “Day of Atonement.” It’s a solemn occasion when we Jews reflect upon those things we regret or need to atone for – and determine to do better in the coming year. There is no “confession” in the Jewish religion: each individual contemplates his own transgressions, mistakes and errors and makes her peace with God directly through prayer.

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Apples, sweetened with honey, a treat this holiday season … CECELIA file photo.

Because Israel has taken in Jews from so many different culture and nations, there are many rich traditions there to célèbrate and observe the holidays: Jews from Russia, Ethiopia, Germany and other nations have all brought their traditions, foods and costumes to share, and they enrich the tapestry that makes up the daily life there.

So, here is my own personal wish for all for the coming year 5782: May all enjoy good healath, with the COVID virus at last laid to rest. May all have shelter, food and safety and enjoy the love of family, friends and co-workers.