Rosh Hashanah, meaning “head of the year”, is the Jewish New Year. It is not a national public holiday in the US but is celebrated by those of Jewish ancestry or who follow Judaism.
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The first month of the Jewish calendar for religious purposes is Nisan, but the first month for civil use is Tishri, the seventh month. Thus, the first and second days of Tishri are celebrated as Rosh Hashanah. Also, days begin at sunset according to Jewish tradition, which obviously affects when the celebrations begin and end.
To celebrate, many families gather together for food and fellowship. They eat, among other things, honey-dipped apples and “challah” bread. The ram’s horn, called a “shofar”, is blown on Rosh Hashanah, and it is also a time of repentance and remembrance.
It is thought that God reviews every man’s deeds done in the previous year on Rosh Hashanah, and thus, everyone is supposed to give and receive forgiveness on this day. Some devout Jews recite “tashlikh” prayers by a flowing stream and cast away bits of bread one by one to symbolize sins confessed and repented of. The Brooklyn and the Manhattan Bridge in NYC are famous tashlikh locations. Attendance at special synagogue services is also common, and this is where the shofar will be sounded.