Rosh HaShanah (Judaism)

Rosh HaShanah (Judaism): October 3rd– 4th, 2016



In an effort to create more awareness about world faiths and philosophies, the Office of Internal Affairs and International Initiatives would like to notify campus community members about dates of significance within several world religions.  This message relates to Rosh HaShanah which is observed beginning the evening of October 3rd and ending the evening of October 4th this year.

Rosh HaShanah is the Jewish New Year.  It falls during the month of Tishrei and occurs ten days before Yom Kippur. Together, Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur are known as the Yamim Nora’im, which means the “Days of Awe” in Hebrew. In English they are often referred to as the High Holy Days. Rosh HaShanah is observed on the first two days of Tishrei. Jewish tradition teaches that during the High Holy Days God decides who will live and who will die during the coming year. As a result, during Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur (and in the days leading up to them) Jews embark upon the serious task of examining their lives and repenting for any wrongs they have committed during the previous year. Jews are encouraged to make amends with anyone they have wronged and to make plans for improving during the coming year. Rosh HaShanah is about making peace in the community and striving to be a better person; it is a contemplative time filled with hope for the New Year.

No work is permitted on Rosh HaShanah and much of the day is spent in the synagogue.  An important symbol of Rosh HaShanah is the shofar, an instrument often made of ram’s horn.  It is blown one hundred times during each of the two days of Rosh HaShanah. The sound of the shofar blast reminds people of the importance of reflection during this important holiday. Other significant symbols of Rosh HaShanah include apples, honey and round loaves of challah. Apple slices dipped in honey represent hope for a sweet new year and are traditionally accompanied by a short prayer before eating.  On the first day of Rosh HaShanah a ceremony called Tashlich takes place and symbolizes casting off the sins from the previous year.  They do this by tossing pieces of bread or other food into a body of flowing water.  On the second night of Rosh HaShanah it is customary to eat a fruit that is new for the season, pomegranate is a popular choice.  Some people also choose to send New Year’s greeting cards on Rosh HaShanah.

*This information was drawn directly from a variety of sources:


Prairie View A&M University acknowledges and embraces the diversity of our students, faculty, and staff. Due to the great number and diversity of viewpoints, this resource is not able to provide an exhaustive list of significant dates for all faith and philosophical traditions. Likewise, the practice of special dates may differ based on region, denomination or generational differences.