Sundown on September 4 marks the beginning of the Jewish High Holidays, referred to as the “Days of Awe” in English, and “Yomin Noraim” in Hebrew.
The Days of Awe include the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, Sept. 4 to sundown on Sept. 6, and Yom Kippur, beginning sundown Sept. 13 and ending at sundown on Sept. 14.
Rosh Hashanah, which is Hebrew for “Head of the Year,” is observed for two days beginning on the first day of the Jewish year. Rosh Hashanah falls out on the 1st and 2nd of Tishre, the first month of the Jewish Year. The Jewish New Year marks the anniversary of the creation of the first man and woman on Earth, and their realization of man’s role in God’s world.
Observers are obligated to hear the sounding of the ram’s horn, the shofar. The sounding of the shofar represents a call for repentance, as Rosh Hashanah serves as the first of The Ten Days of Repentance.
The Ten Days of Repentance, as they are known, are the 10 days leading up to the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur.
The month preceding the Days of Awe is known as the month of Elul in the Hebrew calendar. The entire month of Elul serves as an opportunity to begin the repentance process.
During this month it is customary to listen to the sounding of the shofar every weekday until the 28th day of the month.
On the night of Rosh Hashanah families recite New Year’s prayers and say Kiddush, or the sanctification of wine, and make a blessing over challah bread, which is dipped in honey to symbolize the coming of a sweet new year. Apples dipped in honey are customarily eaten, again as a way to emphasize the bringing of a sweet new year.
Pomegranates and the head of the fish are also eaten on Rosh Hashanah, as they too are symbolic for the ushering in of a successful new year.
For the Jewish people, Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year as it is on this day that God seals the fate of each individual for the coming year.
Jewish men and women refrain from food or drink for 26 hours during this Day of Atonement.
The holiday is usually spent engaging in prayer in the synagogue. Although the day seems like a solemn one, it is actually regarded as a joyous occasion as many believe that God will accept repentance and grant life for the coming year.
Services & Celebrations
Chabad (1428 17th Street, 310.453.3011, thechabadnik.org) will be holding High Holy Days services Sept. 4 through Sept. 6 (Rosh Hashanah) and Sept. 13 through Sept. 14 (Yom Kippur). A break-fast will immediately follow services, which ends at 7:38 pm.
Santa Monica Synagogue (1448 18th Street, 310.453.4276, thesms.org) will hold Rosh Hashanah services on Sept. 5 from 10 am to 11 am. On Sept. 13 from 7:30-8 pm Santa Monica Synagogue will hold Yom Kippur services. Evening services will be followed by morning services on Sept. 14 from 10-11 am. The synagogue will also be showing a Yom Kippur film and discussion at 1pm in addition to a pre-school program at 2 pm and a K through 3rd family service at 3 pm. The holiday will come to a conclusion with 4 pm afternoon services directly followed by 5pm conclusion services.
Beth Shir Shalom (1827 California Avenue, 310.453.336, bethshirshalom.org) High Holy Days services will be held at Barnum Hall at Santa Monica High School, 601 Pico Boulevard. Rosh Hashanah services will be held on Sept. 4 at 7 pm, followed by a morning Rosh Hashanah service at 9:30 am on Sept. 5. Rosh Hashanah children’s afternoon services will be held at 1:30 pm. Yom Kippur services will begin on Sept. 13 at 7 pm and will continue on Sept. 14 for morning services at 9:30 am. Yom Kippur services will conclude at 3:30 pm.
Kehillat Ma’arav (1715 21st Street, 310.829.0566, km-synagogue.org) will hold a Erev Rosh Hashanah service Sept. 4 at 6 pm. First Day services on Sept. 5 and Second Day services on Sept. 6. Child Care and Programing availble for all ages. Kol Nidre will be held Sept. 13; Yom Kippur and Yizkor Services Sept. 14. Visit the website for more information.