Rosh Hashanah marks the commencement of the high holidays (holy days), the most auspicious holidays of the Jewish faith. The ten day period culminates in Yom Kippur, the most solemn day of the year that people of all faiths (or none at all) would do well to observe.
Nadine generously explains the holidays thusly (I neglected to ask if I could publish this but I think it’s okay):————————-
The “high holidays” are actually a 2 part situation as such – the sweet (Rosh Hashanah the new year) with the bitter (Yom Kippur, the day of atonement).
For the New Year – everyone is very festive and happy, Jews are supposed to look their best and wear new clothes, be happy for the new year and all of the good things that happened. Be happy for your family and your children and dear friends.
For the New Year it is very appropriate to wish someone Jewish a very happy new year. The traditional greeting is “L’shanah tovah” (many also say “Shana Tova”) and if you feel very strongly about that person you can also share with them what good things they are to you or have brought you. It’s the time of year when everyone is joyous and similar to the traditional Christian new year.
Traditionally, Jewish people eat egg bread with raisins (sweet foods) and apples dipped in honey which is very sweet to remind us that a new year is wonderful and positive and happy. (Personally, I feel that Jewish people are always happy to realize they made it another year so they have a lot of this sweet symbolism in their services.) On a religious note, it is also the end of the reading of the Torah. So from a religious point of view it is also to be joyous to God that you read through all his teachings to the end which is a great achievement on a spiritual level.
For part 2 – the bitter:
The Jewish religion separates feeling good and feeling bad during the new year into 2 different days which actually is pretty smart I think.
10 days after the party is over, there is Yom Kippur which is the day of atonement. On this day you fast all day and try to reflect on your shortcomings, where you didn’t have some integrity to someone, where you could have done better but didn’t or to reflect on the less noble sides of yourself to purge them and resolve to be a better person in the new year. Also you are supposed to take the time to ask forgiveness from anyone who you may have slighted or wronged in some way, make amends where necessary. Also, it is a solemn time to honor the dead.
Most Jews aren’t that social during Yom Kippur because the holiday is very solitary so I can’t even think of a way for someone to greet or recognize Yom Kippur as it isn’t a celebratory type of holiday.
What I could suggest is to simply wish your friends or business associates a wonderful New Year and if you feel very close to your friend you can also tell them that you will also take the opportunity to reflect during their holiday which is a touching complement. Orthodox Jews are very nervous about receiving food unless it is from a bakery that is approved as kosher and they shop there. Some Orthodox are extremely Kosher so they have stricter requirements than other orthodox. So I don’t advise giving food. But a nice card is good too.
Usually, my mom calls me (such as today) and leaves me a long and crying voicemail asking for forgiveness. My suppliers are all very happy when I wish them a happy new year.
Jewish people are always delighted when non-Jewish people recognize their holidays. That in and of itself is special to them and makes them feel more accepted by society.
I continue to be keenly interested in the traditional market and production calender in apparel. Somebody once suggested I was a bigot because I noted that fall deliveries have been completed prior to the commencement of the high holy days but I find it fascinating, worth remarking, that our production calender was organized in this way. Why is it bigoted to notice? It only makes sense that it would have been because at that time, nearly everyone in the trade from stitchers to suppliers were Jewish immigrants. Why would the calender been organized to suit the faiths of non-industry outsiders? The very idea is daft. One of the perks of innovation, first mover’s advantage is that you get to be the boss of industry standards and create traditions. Anybody else who comes along is just going to have to fall in line. If you’re also interested in the influence of Jewish heritage and contribution in the garment industry, see these previous entries. I just wish I knew more about it.
Yom Kippur, the day of atonement is September 22nd. I’ll need more than a day to reflect and make amends ~sigh~ maybe there’s that ten day lag between the two dates for people like me, those with chronic foot/mouth insertion problems who need more time to make reparations.
In closure, I wish my friends and business associates a wonderful New Year and I will be taking the opportunity to reflect and observe the holidays.