Celebrating the Jewish new year or Rosh Hashana Literally meaning “head of the year” in Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah is the first of the high holidays, marking the beginning of the New year according to the Jewish calendar (Aleph or first day of Tishrei). This is also the first time the Shofar horn is blown at prayer services.

The period between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is called “The Ten Days of Repentance,” This is traditionally a time for Jews to atone for their sins.

In Israel, The Jewish New Year is typically celebrated with a family gathering and meal. The customary new year wish of Shanah Tovah u-Metukah means ‘A good and sweet year’, and is usually accompanied by an offering of pomegranates and apples dipped in honey.

Rosh Hashana - apple and honey

Another excuse for a good meal. We love to eat!!!

In the States, we celebrate in similar way. First a family gathering with a festive meal to celebrate the opening of a new healthy, happy and sweet new Jewish New year along with greetings to family and friends. I especially enjoy the wonderful apples and honey as the apples in my hometown of Ohio were just coming into season at that time and they were delicious.

However, If you happen to be in Israel at this time, you’ll discover most activities quiet down. Nearly all businesses are closed on this holiday, so it’s a great opportunity to retreat and plan to spend some leisure time away from the city. However, if you’re visiting during the weeks before the holiday, you’ll find many bee-keepers and honey makers celebrate the holiday at honey festivals around the country.

Jewish New Year Events Across the Country

Included is a sample of family events held throughout the country for the new year:

  • The Hidden Reservation – nature reserve located 3 kilometers (2 miles) north of the Dead Sea and south of Kibbutz Kalya off of route 90. Open from 8 AM until 5PM during the summer and until 4 PM during the winter. Call 02-9942355.
  • Bedouine survival training adventure for the whole family – organized by the Field School (beit seffer sade) in Ein Gedi. Call 03-6388688.
  • Kite flying for the new year at Apollonia National Park – Follow Wingate street in Herziliya, and you’ll find this enchanting medieval fortress. Call 09-9550929.

More about Jewish holidays from Israel Travel Secrets.

Shana Tovah ! Happy New Year
Lisa and Bruce