Today millions of Jewish people will celebrate Rosh Hashanah.
Yes – that’s the start of the Jewish New Year 5778 on the Hebrew calendar.
This year Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset on Wednesday, September 20 and ends on Friday, September 22.
It’s a time to feast with friends and family as well as go to the synagogue and reflect on the year before and the year ahead.
Here are some quotes, messages, greetings and poems to share.
Seven quotes to reflect on this Rosh Hashanah
1) ‘May it be Your will, Lord our God and God of our ancestors, that you renew for us a good and sweet year’ – Hebraic Berakhah
2) ‘We meet today to thank Thee for the era done, and Thee for the opening one’ – John Greenleaf Whittier
3) ‘The key to understanding the themes of Rosh Hashanah is the date. The Day of Judgment for the world was not chosen arbitrarily, but is specifically on this date — not because it is the first day of the year, but because it is the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve.’ – South Africa’s Chief Rabbi, Dr. Warren Goldstein
4) ‘For many Jews, Rosh Hashanah and teshuvah are annual reminders of the possibility to renew relationships with God and with each other.’ – Rebecca Missel
5) ‘Rosh Hashanah isn’t just about being new, it’s about a change.”’ – Max Levis
6) ‘Rosh Hashana is steeped in ritual. We eat the head of a sheep or fish as a symbol of leadership and ascendency. We dip our challah and apple in honey in the hope of a sweet year.”’ – Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann
7) ‘On one hand, we know that Rosh Hashanah is the Day of Judgment. The scales are poised. Each person is judged according to his deeds (or lack of them).’ – Binyomin Adilman
How to wish someone a Happy New Year in Hebrew
The traditional way to wish someone a Happy New Year in Hebrew is by saying ‘Shana Tova’.
In Hebrew this means ‘a good year’.
Some people also say Shanah Tovah Umetukah, meaning ‘a good and sweet year’ too.
10 messages to share with loved ones
1) A wish for the New Year and always. Shalom!
2) On Rosh Hashanah wishing you peace, happiness, good luck God’s blessing and success. L’shanah Tovah! Happy Rosh Hashanah!
3) At the New Year, with special thoughts of you, and a wish that the year ahead will be filled with peace, happiness, and good health.
4) Wishing you good health, happiness, peace and prosperity. Today and all through the year! L’shanah Tovah!
5) On Rosh Hashanah it is written… On Yom Kippur it is sealed. May it be written and may it be sealed that you have a new year that brings fulfillment and happiness, peace and prosperity – all of life’s very best things. Have a Happy, Healthy New Year!
6) May this New Year be filled with health and happiness, and sweet moments for you and your family. L’shanah Tovah!
7) May this New Year be sweet, healthy and happy. L’shanah Tovah! Happy Rosh Hashanah!
8) May your home light up with joy. Happy Rosh Hashanah!
9) When you look into your heart as the New Year starts, may you discover a new sense of possibility, a new belief in the gifts you have to share, and a renewed commitment to your faith and your dreams. Happy Rosh Hashanah!
10) A day of joy, a time of hope, a year of happiness. Wishing you peace at Rosh Hashanah and always.
Three poems that encapsulate the celebration
1) The birthday of the world – By Marge Piercy
On the birthday of the world
I begin to contemplate
what I have done and left
undone, but this year
not so much rebuilding
of my perennially damaged
psyche, shoring up eroding
friendships, digging out
stumps of old resentments
that refuse to rot on their own.
2) The late year– By Marge Piercy
I like Rosh Hashonah late,
when the leaves are half burnt
umber and scarlet, when sunset
marks the horizon with slow fire
and the black silhouettes
of migrating birds perch
on the wires davening.
I like Rosh Hashonah late
when all living are counting
their days toward death
or sleep or the putting by
of what will sustain them—
when the cold whose tendrils
translucent as a jellyfish
3) The New Year– By Emma Lazarus
Not while the snow-shroud round dead earth is rolled,
And naked branches point to frozen skies.—
When orchards burn their lamps of fiery gold,
The grape glows like a jewel, and the corn
A sea of beauty and abundance lies,
Then the new year is born.
Look where the mother of the months uplifts
In the green clearness of the unsunned West,
Her ivory horn of plenty, dropping gifts,
Cool, harvest-feeding dews, fine-winnowed light;
Tired labor with fruition, joy and rest
Profusely to requite.