Senior Maya Koch celebrates Rosh Hashannah

Kayla Holcomb, Staff Writer

Rosh Hashannah is the Jewish new year, literally translated from Hebrew
as “beginning of the year.”
The two day celebration begins on the first day of Tishrei, the first
month of the Jewish calendar, roughly equivalent to the end of
September.
Like the New Year, most Americans celebrate on December 31st and
January 1st,. This holiday has a different meaning for each person.
For Senior Maya Koch, Rosh Hashannah is a time of “reflection, and
looking forward to the coming year.”
On Rosh Hashanah, Jewish families and friends gather to celebrate with
traditional customs, such as dipping apples in honey, symbolizing the
wish for a sweet new year, or eating a special round challah bread,
reflecting the cyclical turning of the years.
Usually, much of the day is spent in religious services which often
focus on the concept of God’s sovereignty.
“The service involves a lot of singing songs of prayer and listening
to the rabbi speak,” Koch said. “There are also a few Torah readings.”
Rosh Hashannah is one of the most important Jewish holidays outside of
Yom Kippur (the day of atonement) and Passover (a festival that
celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery in
Egypt). “Almost all religious Jews celebrate it, and if they don’t,
it’s either because they have a more secular lifestyle, or because of
conflict with work, school, family emergency, etc.,” Koch said.
“My family makes a point of going to Rosh Hashannah services every
year. Since Jews are a diaspora community, we find it important to
hold on to traditions, because that is the only surefire way to
preserve our culture,” Koch said.
The Jewish people are diverse because they are in a worldwide
diaspora. Across the religion are many ethnic groups, such as the
Kaifeng Jews in China.
Despite a variety of different cultural practices, religion is a
consistently unifying force across the globe. For the many Jewish
communities out there, Rosh Hashannah is a bittersweet holiday.
Though reflecting on the past can be sad, the Jewish people continue
each year to look forward to future with hopes of the new and better
things to come.