Jewish faith begins new year

Published 11:20 pm Wednesday, September 12, 2007

VIDALIA — What is an otherwise ordinary Thursday in September for some people is New Year’s Day for those of the Jewish faith.

Rosh Hashanah — also known as the Jewish New Year — is Thursday, and members of the Temple B’nai Israel met Wednesday night for a service on night before Rosh Hashanah.

During the celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the faithful take a chance to look back at what mistakes they have made in the last year and plan how they will change during the next one.

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The Wednesday service included candle lightings, liturgical prayers and hymns and readings in Hebrew.

“Grant us this year the light of redemption, the light of peace,” student Rabbi Josh Leighton prayed at the beginning of the service.

Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of a 10-day period known as the “Days of Awe,” or the “High Holy Days,” a time of reflection that ends with repentance on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

“Before us lies a new day, ours to create by the strength of our faith,” the congregation prayed in unison.

“Love us as much as we will let You,” the congregation prayed. “We are Your Jews. We will not forget You.”

The Jewish people believe the holiday was instituted by God in Leviticus 23:24-25, in which God ordered them to observe a day of complete rest and to hold a service commemorated by trumpet blasts.

The holiday falls on the first day of the month of Tishri, which on the standard calendar is during the months of September and October.

The Jewish calendar is lunar, and Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the year 5768 for the Jewish faith.

“May it be your will, Eternal our God, God of all generations, that the year 5768 bring to us and the whole house of Israel life and peace, joy and exaltation, redemption and comfort,” Leighton said.