Rosh Hashanah: Shanah Tovah “Good Year” | Naming the Days

Rosh Hashanah is the two-day festival of the Jewish New Year, which begins at sunset. Neil Gillman of the Jewish Theological Seminary explains its importance: “This festival has evolved through our tradition to represent a time of personal and universal renewal, or your life may become … We say goodbye to the old time and welcome the new.

Traditional customs and practices for Rosh Hashanah include listening to the shofar, lighting festival candles, special prayers and readings in the synagogue, and eating sweet (for the coming year), rounds (for the cycle of the year) and plentiful (for fertility). Many also perform a version of the Taschlich ceremony by walking to the nearest free flowing water and pouring a symbol (often breadcrumbs) of the sins of the past year into it.

To name these days:

Websites & Organizations

  • At, you can find articles with personal experiences, explanations of symbols, and complete ceremonies for Rosh Hashanah.

Spiritual Practices

See Rabbi Michael Lerner’s instructions for the practices of repentance and forgiveness used during the ten days from the eve of Rosh Hashanah to the end of Yom Kippur. These are suitable for people of any religious tradition.

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