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

The year 5783 in the Jewish calendar begins at sundown on Sunday, Sept. 25, with in-person Rosh Hashanah 2022 services at most San Diego-area congregations.

Congregation Beth Israel, the largest Jewish congregation in San Diego and the oldest in Southern California, is holding services in a “mask optional/friendly environment” at its sanctuary and streaming them online for those concerned about COVID-19.

Rosh Hashanah means literally “head of the year” in Hebrew. It marks the beginning of 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.

Tashlich, another 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, with many congregations meeting at local beaches.

The Jewish Federation of San Diego County provides an online listing of local congregations offering 2021 high holiday services.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.