BEDFORD CORNERS, N.Y. – Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, begins at sundown Sunday, and Bedford Central School District students will take off Monday and Tuesday for the holiday.
Rabbi Jason Nevarez of Temple Shaaray Tefila in Bedford Corners spoke with The Bedford Daily Voice about the meaning of Rosh Hashanah and its customs and traditions, describing the holiday as a time for introspection, contemplation and self-renewal.
"Rosh Hashanah" literally means "head of the year," Nevarez said.
"It’s a time to begin anew," he said, "to take a personal inventory of our lives, of where we’ve been, and note where we need to make changes."
Nevarez said Jews eat apples and honey on Rosh Hashanah, a custom that represents asking God to bring sweetness for the coming year and to usher in "a sweet and joyous new year."
Central practices of the holiday, he said, include blowing the shofar, or ram’s horn, "because it is our call to worship, our call to all the things that we’re supposed to," he said. "It’s our call to wake up, and bring ourselves anew."
Jews also perform the tashlikh on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, which literally means "sending" or "casting away," Nevarez said.
In this practice, believers approach a body of flowing water and symbolically cast away crumbs of bread, a practice that represents getting rid of sin.
Temple Shaaray Tefila, 89 Baldwin Road, will celebrate Erev Rosh Hashanah (“Rosh Hashanah Eve”) at 8 p.m. Sunday at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts. The temple will hold a second service at Caramoor at 10 a.m Tuesday.
Rabbi Aaron Brusso and Cantor Randy Herman of Mount Kisco’s Bet Torah synagogue, 60 Smith Ave., will lead an interactive High Holiday Experience for families on Monday, the first day of Rosh Hashanah.
The ceremony will be held at 5:30 p.m. in Shopper’s Park near the creek that is just behind the Mount Kisco Public Library. At 6 p.m., families are invited to stay for tashlikh.