Freshman starts anew with Rosh Hashana

rosh hashanah
Freshman Elena Lipman recites a blessing over the candles in celebration of Rosh Hashanah. (Photo courtesy of Lipman)

Freshman Elena Lipman begins the celebration of the annual Jewish holiday Rosh Hashana at sundown on Wednesday, Sept. 4.

Q: What does the holiday mean?

A: Rosh Hashana signifies washing away this past year’s sins. It wipes a clean state for us. We start reading the Torah, which is like our Bible, again. We read a passage a week for the whole year, and then when Rosh Hashana comes around, we start at the beginning again.

Q: How do you celebrate it?

A: My family and I go to a service. It’s like a regular service but longer. We read from the Torah, but we also read from a special prayer book called the Mahzor. During services they blow through a shofar, a hollowed-out ram’s horn. They make three different blasts come out of it: a short one, a medium one and a long one. It’s a literal and spiritual wake-up call for the start of the New Year.

Q: Is there a particular Rosh Hashana that stands out for you?

A: My favorite part is that at this time of year my family is always together. This doesn’t really happen much because everyone is so busy.

Q: What about the holiday do you enjoy most?

A: My favorite part is the traditions. We always make challah (a special Jewish bread eaten on holidays). Only at this time of year we can bake it in the shape of a crown. Other times of the year we braid it. We dip apple in honey and eat it instead of candy in order to celebrate the new year. We do this so we have a sweet year.

Q: What’s the significance of the holiday for you?

A: Starting new. I’m going to try and spend more time with my family this year. My brother has gone to college, and I am going to make more of an effort to stay in touch with him. It’s kind of like my New Year’s resolution.

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