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Area Jews Celebrate Rosh Hashanah: Offering Chance for Atonement

Tonight marks the celebration of the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah.  The holiday lasts two days and serves not only as the Jewish New Year, but also offers a chance for repentance.  KSMU’s Justin Lux spoke with a local Judaism professor and files this report.

[Sound of Dr. Nunnally speaking Hebrew]

Dr. W.E. Nunnally is a professor of Early Judaism and Christian Origins at Evangel University.

“It is, ‘Blessings or best wishes for a good and sweet year,’ and that’s kind of cool cause you don’t hear that when we say, ‘Happy New Year.’”

For some, the idea of a new year brings thoughts of the ball dropping in Times Square, streamers and parties.  But in Judaism, Rosh Hashanah marks a different sort of New Year celebration.

Nunnally says in the Jewish New Year, the first thing that must happen is atonement or what’s commonly referred to as Yom Kippur.

“In order to start off the New Year properly, in right relationship with God and in right relationship with one another, then repentance, national repentance, takes place,”

Nunnally says once a person’s day of repentance is completed they are ready to move forward.

“When Yom Kippur is properly accomplished then you’re ready to start the New Year with hope and with right relationships restored between you and God and you and one another,”

Many customs have followed the Jewish New Year, including all day services in synagogues that begin early in the morning.

One of the more common practices is the dipping of challah and apples into honey to symbolize asking God for a sweet year.

 For KSMU News, I’m Justin Lux.