Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the 10-day Jewish New Year festival, which culminates with Yom Kippur. It literally translates to “head of the year.”
Humanistic Jews see Rosh Hashanah as a time for renewal, reflection, and new beginnings. Our focus is on the affirmation of human power and human dignity. Rosh Hashanah is a time to consider the possibilities for change, improvement, and happiness that we can create for ourselves as human beings.
Each Humanistic Jewish community celebrates Rosh Hashanah in its own unique way. Most communities create a service booklet that contains inspiring meditations, stories and poems that are relevant to our lives today and to the Rosh Hashanah themes of new beginnings, forgiveness, and change. Most communities also have beautiful music and interesting talks, and include the traditional blowing the shofar (ram’s horn) as part of the celebration. For a schedule of Rosh Hashanah celebrations in SHJ communities, follow this link!
The ceremony of Tashlikh, which traditionally involves visiting a moving body of water and symbolically casting off one’s sins by throwing bread crumbs into the water, often is included in a Humanistic Rosh Hashanah observance. Humanistic Jews creatively incorporate Tashlikh into their holiday calendar. Tashlikh allows Humanistic Jews to reflect on their behavior, to cast off behaviors they regret and to vow to be better people in the year to come.