Rosh HaShanah is the first Jewish holiday that occurs in the autumn and falls on the first and second days of the Jewish calendar Tishri and comes sometime in September or October. It is also called “Yom haDin” or Day of Judgment.
The blowing of the shofar is a central part of this holiday. It calls the Jewish people to turn to God or announces that something special is about to happen. Traditionally Genesis 22—the story of Abraham and Isaac—is read on this holiday.
Rosh haShanah is both a somber and joyful day since is a day of repentance or judgment and celebrates the birthday of the world It is celebrated for two days. Families gather together for a special meal where honey cake is eaten as well as apple slices dipped in honey, symbolizing the sweetness of a new year. The traditional Sabbath sweet bread is served, but baked this time with either white or dark raisins and formed into a circle instead of a braided loaf.
In Jewish thought, God is the Ancient of Days and sits in judgment upon mankind during this time. The books of humankind are exposed before him and both good and bad deeds are visible. The shofar is blown at the end of prayer services, and the ritual of “tashlich” is preformed where stones or the contents of a one’s pockets or bread become like mankind’s sins and are cast into a body of water or the ocean of forgetfulness. This comes from Micah 7:19, “And you will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”