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Elon prepares to celebrate Jewish New Year

Rosh Hashanah begins Sept. 20. Elon students plan to lead prayer services and join in community meals  

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is perhaps best known for the tradition of dipping apples into honey to symbolize hopes for a sweet new year. But Rosh Hashanah is more than just apples and honey. It is a time for spiritual renewal and the first of what are known as the High Holidays.

On Elon’s campus, students will come together for delicious shared meals, and will participate in pluralistic and engaging prayer services to mark the Jewish new year alongside Associate Chaplain Rabbi Meir Goldstein and Greensboro’s Cantor Katy Claussen.

Rosh Hashanah is also known for the ritual sounding of a ram’s horn (a shofar in Hebrew).  The sounds of the shofar have many meanings.  One of the most profound is that it is a spiritual alarm clock reminding us to wake up to the season of introspection, self-awareness and refocusing our lives so we can embody our greatest values — becoming whom we truly wish to become.

According to Jewish tradition, Rosh Hashanah is a time both for rejoicing and introspection, and begins the period known as the Days of Awe. This intense 10-day period culminates with Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). Considered by many to be the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur is a 25-hour fast day during which time we take stock of our past year and recommit to our truest values.

Rosh Hashanah services, which will take place in the Sacred Space in the Numen Lumen Pavilion on Sept. 20-22, bring together the Elon Jewish community to worship. Services will take place Sept. 20 at 6:45 p.m. and on Sept. 21 and 22 at 10 a.m.

Other traditions for Rosh Hashanah include Tashlich, a ceremony in which bread crumbs, symbolizing our sins, are cast into flowing water. This year, Tashlich at Elon will take place on Sept. 21, with participants to meet at Numen Lumen at 4:15 p.m.

Festive meals are an important part of marking Rosh Hashanah, and the Elon community is welcome to join our Jewish students to celebrate the holiday.  For more information about meals, please visit the Hillel website.

At these celebratory meals, participants will enjoy challah (traditional braided egg bread for Shabbat and holidays) dipped in honey, as well as the ubiquitous apples, also dipped in honey to symbolize hopes for a sweet new year. 

All meals and services are free of charge for students, and open to the entire community. RSVP required for meals.

Hillary Zaken,
9/18/2017 10:05 AM