Great Neck Residents Celebrate A Sweet New Year

For Jews in Great Neck and all over the world, the two-day holiday of Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the Jewish year which started at sunset on Sunday, September 25, 2022 and ends at nightfall on Tuesday, September 27, 2022. In the Great Neck community, Rosh Hashanah is celebrated in various ways and unites Jews on this special day. 

A shofar with apple and honey, traditional elements of Rosh Hashanah. (Credit: Google Images).

Rosh Hashana directly translates to “head of the year”. In Judaism, Rosh Hashanah is considered the sixth day of “Creation,” indicative of the day that Adam and Eve were created. 

In Great Neck, those who celebrate often spend significant time in a synagogue praying while listening to the blowing of the shofar and reflecting on the past year. 

For many, the blowing of the shofar is the most important aspect of the holiday.

“Personally, the blowing of the shofar represents the start of a new year,” said Junior Molly Nasiri. “When hearing it, I can reflect on the past year and take a step forward into the new year.”

Man blows the shofar for Rosh Hashanah next to the western wall in Israel. (Credit: Newsweek)

Rosh Hashanah is referred to as the “day of the shofar blast”. A shofar is a trumpet made from the horn of a kosher animal. It is traditional custom of Rosh Hashanah to hear the shofar being blown in a synagogue as part of the prayer service.

Further, the traditional Rosh Hashana feast consists of apples dipped in honey, round challah bread, pomegranate, and other foods that symbolize a sweet new year. 

“The food we eat over Rosh Hashanah in my family is certainly my favorite part. I always look forward to eating apples dipped in honey at the dinner table,” said Junior Emily Beyda. “I think it’s also really cool that all the food represents wishes for a happy new year.”

Pomegranate, honey, and apples all make up part of the Rosh Hashanah Seder. (Credit: Google Images)

“The crisp delicacy of the apple is met with a certain sweetness that excites me each year as Rosh Hashana approaches. To me, the food of Rosh Hashana resembles mere perfection that undoubtedly satisfies my taste buds,” Junior Coby Kalimian adds. “There is no doubt that Rosh Hashanah is my favorite holiday.”

In Great Neck, many have expressed their excitement about celebrating Rosh Hashanah, specifically at synagogue through in-person services. In recent years, COVID-19 has made it difficult for many families to attend temple services which result in at-home celebrations.

“I was really happy celebrating Rosh Hashana in-person at synagogue. I wasn’t able to for the past few years since COVID-19 presented serious challenges. Luckily, this year we were able to overcome many obstacles and finally settle into more normal habits,” said Junior Joseph Banilivi.

A family celebrates Rosh Hashanah. (Credit: Google Images)

Rosh Hashanah’s two-day period culminates with Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, and is considered the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. 

Overall, it’s clear that Great Neck’s jewish residents value Rosh Hashanah and its customs that are celebrated in a variety of ways.