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Wednesday, June 12, 2024


Sept. 4, 2001 – Beginning the evening of Sept. 17, the Jewish community around the world will celebrate a 10-day period from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur known as the Ten Days of Repentance.
Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishri, marks the beginning of the Jewish new year. "But it has meaning beyond the start of the calendar year," Rabbi Jay Heyman of the Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas said. "It is the beginning of a period of self-examination and introspection which continues through Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement."
The Torah — the Five Books of Moses — designates the first of Tishri as a day of "memorial, proclaimed with the blast of horns" (Leviticus 23:24, Numbers 29:1). For Jews, Heyman said, the sounding of the Shofar, the ram's horn, is symbolic in a multi-faceted way: "recalling past events, looking to the Messianic future, proclaiming divine sovereignty and much more. The sound of the Shofar is a call to a divine summons, to examine our hearts, and to plead our case before the Eternal."
Activities during the period are directed toward reconciliation with both God and other people, he said. On Rosh Hashanah, individuals take the first steps toward atonement. "But this initial recognition of sin with its accompanying remorse requires further steps to complete the process of repentance. Thus, the penitential process is continued for 10 days, culminating with Yom Kippur and its 24 hours of self-examination, confession and fasting."
For the Jewish community, Heyman said, the High Holy Days period "provides an opportunity to alter conduct, readjust values, and set things right in one's personal life." Honesty and confession of wrongdoing are required, he said, and the purpose throughout the period of the holy "Days of Awe" is to move the individual toward reconciliation, renewal and return.
For information about High Holy Days services, see the Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas web site: www.onepaper.com/synagogue, or call the synagogue office at 774-4312.

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