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5 things you should know about the Jewish High Holidays

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
Aug. 30, 2013 at 3:30 a.m.


Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year begins at sundown Wednesday at the Temple B'nai Israel in Victoria and around the world.

More than 13 million Jews around the world will begin the observance of High Holy Days, a 10-day period of prayer and reflection in the Jewish faith, sometimes called The Days of Awe.

Rosh Hashanah kicks off the holiest time of year in the faith, which ends 10 days later with Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement.

Rosh Hashanah, meaning "Head of the New Year," is a somber time when people of the Jewish faith reflect on their lives, confess and atone for sin and ask forgiveness from those they've harmed in the previous year. It is observed during the time of year when it is believed God created the Earth.

Eating sweets on Rosh Hashanah is symbolic of the sweetness of the new year. Apples and honey, braided challah bread, seasonal fruit and cakes are often enjoyed.

The Teshuvah, which in Hebrew means "Returning," is performed during the High Holy Days. It is a process of atoning for sins, reflection and prayer until Yom Kippur.

Rosh Hashanah officially begins with the blasts of the shofar, or ram's horn trumpet. Rosh Hashanah is sometimes called Yom Teruah, which means, Day of the Shofar Blast.

Many Jews perform the Tashlich service on Rosh Hashanah, or in the subsequent holy days. The service entails standing near a flowing body of water and uttering prayers before throwing pieces of bread into the water, symbolic of sin.

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