Ohr Chadash Religious School, located in Queens, New York, is an example of a new model of supplementary Jewish education. Comprised of a consortium of three Conservative synagogues in eastern Queens, Ohr Chadash combines classroom learning with experiential programming including ongoing opportunities throughout the year for parent, grandparent and guardian education as well as outstanding Shabbat experiences for young people.
ROSH HASHANAH GREETINGS TO OHR CHADASH FAMILIES!
Rabbi Tomsky has compiled a brief summary of some of the laws and traditions of the upcoming holiday and some questions and answers for your enjoyment.
Rosh Hashanah begins a 10 day period, known as Aseret Y’may Tshuva, (Ten Days of Repentance) or the Yamim Nora’im. These ten days that end with Yom Kippur, are a time for Teshuva, Tefillah and Tzedaka. We have these 10 days to consider the mistakes of the last year and ask Hashem and our fellow man for forgiveness before Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashanah is observed on the first and second day of the month of Tishrei. Rosh Hashanah is a time to begin looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to be made in the new year. Rosh Hashanah is celebrated for two days, not only in Chutz La-Aretz (outside of Israel), but also in Eretz Yisrael. The celebration of this Yom Tov is marked with seriousness, as it is on Rosh Hashanah the whole world is judged for the coming year.
Since the first day of Rosh Hashanah this year falls on Shabbat, the shofar will not be taken on this day. Instead it will be blown on Sunday, the second day of Rosh Hashanah. According to the Rambam, we blow the shofar to say, “Wake up! Wake up, everyone who is asleep! Remember your Creator!
We also have simanim as a sign for good, an expression of prayer that the New Year be a good one for us. It is a Minhag to eat sweet foods as a symbol of our desire for a sweet year. We also dip Challah in honey at this time of the year for the same reason. The Challah is not braided as usual but instead baked in a circle – a wish that the coming year will roll around smoothly without unhappiness or sorrow. A popular Minhag during Rosh Hashanah is eating apples dipped in honey, a symbol of our wish for a sweet new year. Before eating the pomegranate, we recite: “May it be your will…..that our merits be increased like (the seeds of) the pomegranate.”
Another popular Minhag of Rosh Hashana is Tashlich. It is performed this year on Sunday, as Tashlich is not recited on Shabbat.
The first week at Ohr Chadash was truly a great success. We thank all of those that worked tirelessly behind the scenes to get the building up and running for the first day of school. We offered and continue to offer remote learning classes as well as in person classes. The teachers focused most of their instruction on the upcoming holiday of Rosh Hashanah. We ended the day with each of the children enjoying the traditional Rosh Hashanah food of apples and honey.
As Rosh Hashanah this year will be on Saturday and Sunday, we did not have sessions on Sunday, September 20th. We will be returning on Sunday, September 27th (Erev Yom Kippur) with regular sessions from 9:00-12:30 pm.