Capture RGJ Shofar 1.JPG







For Rabbi Mendel Cunin and millions of Jewish people around the world, Wednesday marks the beginning of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year.

Rosh Hashana, literally meaning head of the year, is two days of spiritual reflection and prayer for things to come.

“My personal message for this year will focus on the community,” said Cunin, of Chabad of Northern Nevada. “Reno has suffered terrible events in the past couple months.”

Cunin said he will ask his followers to return to the best moment of their lives, to remember that moment and the spiritual connection they had in that moment.

Jews follow a lunar calendar. Rosh Hashana is an autumn celebration and is the only Jewish holiday to occur on a new moon.

Before sunset, Jews play the shofar, or a ram’s horn, in synagogue, during the celebration of Rosh Hashana. The shofar acts as a reminder for the soul to enter repentance. Sweet food, such as an apple dipped in honey, also is served after sunset.

“Jewish festivals are about community,” said John Duerson, a lay leader with Temple Emanu-El, 1031 Manzanita Lane in southwest Reno. “Most of the Jewish holidays are performed as a community. It is stressed in Leviticus Chapter 3. As a collective body, we are all there as a group. That idea, that ideology of community, carries on in the Jewish holidays.”

According to the Jews, God opens the book of life and observes his creatures on Rosh Hashana. The observance continues for 10 days, culminating this year on Oct. 8 with Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish faith.

On Yom Kippur, God closes the book and Jews are considered at one with God.
“God gives his people an extra opportunity for goodness (during the 10 days),” Cunin said. “It is all decided. God knows everything that is going to happen for the next year.”

Capture RGJ Shofar2.JPG