Rosh Hashanah, commonly referred to as the Jewish New Year, is observed on the first and second days of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, which coincides with late September and early October.
Rosh Hashanah is a two-day holiday, and businesses are closed on both days. According to Jewish tradition, Rosh Hashanah commemorates the culmination of the creation of the universe and acceptance of God’s sovereignty over the world. These are also the days on which God judges people’s deeds throughout the year and decides their future for the coming year - death for the sinners, life for the pious and a repentance period until Yom Kippur for people whose status is uncertain.
The period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is called The Ten Days of Repentance. This is a period of introspection, during which people have the opportunity to atone for their sins.
Given the importance of the holiday, many Jews attend lengthy prayer services. The more observant also perform tashlich, when they walk to an open body of water, shake out their pockets and symbolically cast their sins into the water.
Some of the best-known customs of the holiday are the blowing of the shofar (ram’s horn) and as part of the festive holiday meal, Jews world over eat apples dipped in honey to symbolize a sweet new year.
The traditional Rosh Hashanah greeting is shana tova (lit. good year).
Don’t forget, if you are in Israel over the holiday, businesses will be closed for two consecutive days. You may want to visit a synagogue to hear the sound of the shofar and partake in some apples and honey!