SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Friday evening marks the start of Rosh Hashanah, one of the High Holy Days of the Jewish faith, and the Jewish community of South Dakota will be celebrating.
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and this year the holiday starts at sundown on September 15 and goes until Sunday on September 17.
South Dakota Rabbi Mendel Alperowitz said Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of Adam and Eve and how people were created in God’s image.
“All of us have that tremendous potential to be real forces for good in our society, in our family, in our community, in our city,” he said. “That’s why we celebrate Rosh Hashanah– that potential of the first human being is in every single one of us.”
A key aspect to Rosh Hashanah is blowing the shofar, a curled ram’s horn used to announce the new year. According to Alperowitz, a ram’s horn is used because in the Torah, Abraham sacrifices a ram instead of his son, Isaac.
“The shofar symbolizes that cry from the heart, where you almost have no words to express what you’re feeling,” he said.
Another tradition for the holiday is dipping an apple in honey to symbolize a sweet year to come. Jewish people also eat pomegranates during Rosh Hashanah due to their abundance of seeds.
“The idea is, each one of us, you and I, no matter what it may look like sometimes externally, when you dig a little deeper, each one of us is packed with goodness and kindness, packed with mitzvahs, just like that pomegranate that is packed with seeds,” Alperowitz said.
Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the Ten Days of Repentance, which finishes with Yom Kippur on September 25. Yom Kippur is another Jewish High Holiday where people atone for their sins the previous year and start fresh. During the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Jewish people seek forgiveness and take responsibility for their mistakes.
“During this time period, it’s up to us to make a real accounting, an audit, of ourselves,” Rabbi Alperowitz said. “Have we behaved completely morally, ethically, appropriately with our spouse, with our children, with our community? Have we done the best we could to be an example for others?”