The Shofar Blew: Jews Mark Rosh Hashanah

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Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the Jewish new year.

During this time, Israelis greet one another with the Hebrew greeting "sha-na toe-va," which means happy new year.

In Israel, it's a national celebration but with deep biblical roots.

Sights and Sounds of Celebration

In Jerusalem, the city is filled with the sights and sounds of the holiday.
Mahane Yehuda is Jerusalem's biggest open air market. At this time of year, thousands of Israelis come here to get ready and celebrate the Jewish new year.

"Well, everybody is all thinking and gearing up for one purpose, you know. It's fantastic," Yehuda told CBN News. 

At Rosh Hashanah, merchants sell specific foods with their own symbolism. For example:

  • Apples and honey mean hope for a sweet new year.
  • Pomogranites symbolize a wish that the good deeds for the new year will be as plentiful as the seeds of the pomogranite.
  • Fish, many of them still flopping, mean hope to be the head and not the tail.
  • Round bread symbolizes the cycle of the year.

It's a time for family and friends. But beneath the holiday bustle, there's a deeper meaning to Rosh Hashana.  
 
"We do in Hebrew what's called a "Hesbone Nefesh" which is kind of like searching our soul, examining our various deeds," one man said. "Examining our relationships. It's actually a time to reconnect with people too."

More Than a Holiday 
 
Rosh Hashanah is also called the Feast of Trumpets in the Bible. In Hebrew, the meaning conveys a divine appointment, a time to meet with God.  

"It is a declaration of the entrance of the people of Israel into a period of atonement," Joseph Shulam, found of Nativyah Ministries, said.

Shulam says Rosh Hashanah begins a 10 day period of repentance known as the Days of Awe. They culminate in the holiest day of the Jewish year, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

"There is no other nation in the world that has ten days of the year dedicated to soul searching, dedicated to calculating our sins and our mistakes and our wrong doings and them coming to the tenth day of the seventh month to the Day of Atonement," he explained.

Dwight Pryor, founder of the Center for Judaic Christian Studies, says the trumpet -- or shofar -- blast reminds us that one day we all face God's judgment.

"That's what Rosh Hashanah tells us," he said. "Hey have you been faithful?  If not, make amends, repent, turn around, make things right and walk in faithfulness, in the obedience of faith, after the Good Shepherd, Yeshua, Jesus."

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