Shalom Shaarei Kodesh,

As we approach this new year, from our family to yours, we wanted to wish you all a Shannah Tovah U'Metukah, a happy and sweet new year.  May it be a year of blessing and growth for us all.  

We all know that the best way to experience something truly special is to prepare, so I wanted to give you all a couple of ways that you can physically prepare for Rosh Hashanah this year. 

Buy a new piece of clothing and/or a new fruit.
Rosh Hashanah is the only holiday that lasts for two days both outside the land of Israel and in Israel.  Another name for the holiday is Yom Ma'arichta, the long day.  On the second day of Rosh Hashanah, we recite the Shechiyanu prayer, a prayer we say when we experience something new.  Our rabbis were troubled by the fact that we said this prayer even though we were still in the midst of the 'same day'.  Therefore, they instruct us to buy a new fruit and eat it on the second night or wear a new piece of clothing on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. 
Yesterday, I prepared for this by buying a dragon fruit, a pomegranate, and a star fruit, three fruits I rarely eat during the year.  For other fruits, I recommend the following article: The Best Summer Fruit You've Never Heard Of
I also recommend the following article: Rosh Hashanah FAQ: All About the Jewish New Year

It is customary for the prayer leaders to wear a kittel, a white robe. The color white symbolize purity and thus exemplifies the worshiper's desire to achieve atonement and forgiveness.  It is more common for all worshippers to wear a kittel on Yom Kippur.  I highly recommend purchasing one in the intermediate days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  You can purchase them in stores or online.  


 Your Meals

-From The Observant Life: The Wisdom of Conservative Judaism for Contemporary Jews
"After reciting the Evening Service, families gather for a festive Rosh Hashanah meal. The special Kiddush for Rosh Hashanah is recited, concluding with the She-heḥeyyanu blessing, thanking God for "granting us life, sustaining us, and enabling us to reach this day." On Shabbat, of course, we add the Shabbat insertions to the Rosh Hashanah Kiddush. There are a wide variety of customs that apply to dinner on Rosh Hashanah. One popular custom is to eat apples and honey. Right after reciting the Ha-motzi blessing and eating some bread, we dip a slice of apple into honey and then, before eating it say: Y'hi ratzon mi-l'fanekha adonai eloheinu veilohei avoteinu [v'immoteinu] she-t'ḥaddeish aleinu shanah tovah um'tukah (" May it be Your will, Adonai our God and God of our ancestors, to grant us a good and sweet new year"). Some have the custom of eating the apple dipped in honey first and then reciting the declaration. Many Jews have a more elaborate ritual that involves eating a large number of symbolic foods, each one intended to symbolize a specific hope for the coming year. For example, some eat a pomegranate as a way of expressing the hope that its numerous seeds will come to represent the many mitzvot to be performed in the year to come. Instead of sprinkling salt over the bread after saying the blessing, some use honey. This too is meant to symbolize the hope for a sweet new year.

-  The Observant Life: The Wisdom of Conservative Judaism for Contemporary Jews

So...How Was The Sermon? What Did Your Rabbi Talk About?

This year, I have developed a table talk sheet for your Rosh Hashanah lunches.  We will have copies available for you at our service, but here's a link to the documents.

After Rosh Hashanah

This Wednesday, October 2, is one of the four minor fast days of the year - Tzom Gedaliah.  Please read the information below.  

Join us on Friday morning at 8 am for our minyan followed by learning with me - Pirkei Avot - The Ethics of Our Fathers With a Full Heart

Next Shabbat - Shabbat Shuvah - A Shabbat of Returning with Guest Speaker Rabbi Mark Rotenberg

The Unspoken Truth about Addiction in the Jewish Community: How 12-step recovery relates to Jewish ideology
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Congregation Shaarei Kodesh 
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