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Rosh Hashanah 2013: The Jewish New Year Explained

 Pittsburgh Jewish Synagogues & Resources listed

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is celebrated in 2013 from sundown on Sept. 4 to nightfall on Sept. 6. The Hebrew date for Rosh Hashanah is 1 Tishrei 5773.

Though Rosh Hashanah literally means "head of the year," the holiday actually takes place on the first two days of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, which is the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar. This is because Rosh Hashanah, one of four new years in the Jewish year, is considered the new year of people, animals and legal contracts. In the Jewish oral tradition, Rosh Hashanah marks the completion of the creation of the world.

Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days, or Yamim Noraim(the "Days of Awe"), and is followed 10 days later by Yom Kippur, the "day of atonement." The Mishnah refers to Rosh Hashanah as the "day of judgment," and it is believed that God opens the Book of Life on this day and begins to decide who shall live and who shall die. The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are viewed as an opportunity for Jews to repent (teshuvah, in Hebrew) and ensure a good fate.

Jews traditionally gather in synagogues on Rosh Hashanah for extended services that follow the liturgy of a special prayerbook, called a mahzor, that is used during the Days of Awe. At specific times throughout the service, a shofar, or ram's horn, is blown. The mitzvah (commandment) to hear the shofar, a literal and spiritual wake-up call, is special to this time of year.

The new year is the only Jewish holiday that is observed for two days by all Jews (other holidays are observed for just one day within the Land of Israel) as it is also the only major holiday that falls on a new moon.

A common greeting on Rosh Hashanah is shana tovah u'metukah, Hebrew for "a good and sweet new year." Many traditional Rosh Hashanah foods -- apples and honey, raisin challah, honey cake and pomegranate -- are eaten, in part, for this reason.


Source: Huffington Post


Jewish Synagogues & Resources
Guide picks
Home to a flourishing Jewish community, Pittsburgh has many Jewish synagogues, organizations, restaurants, and schools. Learn more about being Jewish in Pittsburgh. (Scroll down for more links below the ad.)

National Council of Jewish Women - Pittsburgh Section
Find membership information, volunteer opportunities, and community services from this Jewish women's volunteer organization.

Rodef Shalom Congregation
Western Pennsylvania's oldest Jewish synagogue is home to a large congregation of Reform Jews. Located at Fifth and Morewood Avenues in the Oakland / Shadyside section of Pittsburgh.

Bet Tikvah
Alternative synagogue for Jewish gays, lesbians, and bisexuals in Pittsburgh, this congregation meets for worship at Rodef Shalom synagogue. Services are also open to and regularly attended by interfaith couples, those wishing to explore Judaism, and heterosexual Jews.

Beth Samuel Jewish Center
Reconstructionist congregation located in Ambridge includes Jewish families from non-observant, Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox backgrounds. Primarily serves Pittsburgh's northern and western suburbs.

 Beth Shalom Congregation
Conservative Jewish congregation provides details on membership, religious services, and life services. Located in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

Hadassah of Greater Pittsburgh 
Volunteer Jewish women's organization is actively involved in the Zionist movement and has 32 Groups to fit all ages and lifestyles.

Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh
Hebrew day school offers kindergarten through high school education for Jewish children in Pittsburgh.

Hillel of Pittsburgh
Foundation for Jewish campus life supports Jewish students at the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Duqense University and other Pittsburgh area colleges and universities.

Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh
Find local, national and global news of Jewish interest in this independent Jewish weekly newspaper serving the Jewish communities of Pittsburgh, western Pennsylvania, and northern West Virginia.

Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh
Two Pittsburgh locations (Squirrel Hill and South Hills) offer indoor swimming pools, gymnasiums, recreational sports, classes, and a variety of other services to its members.

Jewish Family and Children's Service of Pittsburgh
Nonsectarian, nonprofit organization helps children, adults and families in the Pittsburgh area with psychological, employment or social services.

Jewish Pittsburgh
Web site of the Pittsburgh Orthodox Jewish community offers synagogue and kosher restaurant listings, as well as news, education, and community resources.

Source: About.com

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