Rosh Hashanah 2018: Jewish New Year Begins at Sundown Sunday

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Blowing the shofar at Congregation Beth Israel in La Jolla. Image courtesy Beth Israel

The 5779th year in the Jewish calendar begins at sundown on Sunday, Sept. 9, with Rosh Hashanah services at San Diego-area congregations.

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Rosh Hashanah means literally “head of the year” in Hebrew. It marks the beginning of the “high holidays,” a 10-day period of prayer, self-examination, and repentance ending with Yom Kippur, which is known as the Day of Atonement.

The year begins at sundown because the ancient Jewish calendar is based on phases of the moon.

Customs observed on Rosh Hashanah include sounding the shofar, a musical instrument made from a ram’s horn, and eating apples and honey for a sweet new year.

Many congregations celebrate one day of Rosh Hashanah, while others observe two days.

Tashlich, one practice associated with Rosh Hashanah, is a ceremony in which Jews symbolically cast away their sins by tossing pieces of bread into a flowing body of water. A number of local congregations will celebrate Tashlich on Thursday afternoon at La Jolla Shores.

The San Diego Jewish Journal provides an online listing of 2018 high holiday services at local congregations.

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