The Days of Awe: Rosh Hashana starts High Holy Days
The setting sun tonight signals Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, for South Florida’s half-million Jews. Rosh Hashana, opens the solemn 10-day period known as the High Holy Days.
Also called Yamim Noraim, or Days of Awe, the holy days are a pause in time, a season of prayer and fasting. Area synagogues often overflow, pointing up the pre-eminence of the holy days.
Traditional Jews believe that God scrutinizes each person, waiting to see who is worthy of good or bad fortune for the next year. Liberal Jews likewise use the High Holy Days as a time to review their lives and resolve to be better persons.
The High Holy Days end this year on Sept. 23 with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. That day-long series of services ends with a blast from the shofar, or ram’s horn, closing God’s books and sealing everyone’s fate for the year.
— JAMES D. DAVIS