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Study and Theory/
Rosh Hashana

Holiday customs

Selichot (forgiveness)

Prayers phrased in poetic language, designed to ask for forgiveness and mercy for one's sins. According to the custom of the religious tradition, one should get up in the early morning and recite these prayers during the days of Rosh Chodesh Elul and Yom Kippur, which are the days of the Selichot.


Lighting a Yom Tov (good day = holiday) candle

When lighting the candle on Rosh Hashanah's Eve, women also recite "Shehecheyanu" (that he gave us life – [free translation]) and wear a new garment or put a new fruit on the table.


Good writing and sentencing blessing

It is customary to bless each other with "Shana Tovah" and "Hatimah Tova". The Ashkenazi version of this blessing is: "May you be written and sentenced to a good year."
The Sephardic version is: “May you be written in the book of the Good Life”.
The Yamen version is: “May you be written in the book of life and the book of memory”. 


Days of awe
The three days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are called the "Days of Awe." Some extend this concept and use it to also note the nature of the seven days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The origin of the name is in the nature of these days as days of trial and judgement.


A prayer that is recited on the first day of Rosh Hashana before sunset, on the banks of a river or a spring. The worshipers say, "And you shall cast into the depths of the sea all our sins." And shake the hem of the garment - a symbol of purification from sins near a source of water.


A book containing prayers and poems, which are repeated in the same order each year. In the Sephardic community, this name is given to a prayer book for the entire year; While in the Ashkenazi community the "cycle" is the book of prayers dedicated to Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and the three festivals.


The ten days of Atonement (between the covered moon and the tenth day)

The Ten Days of Repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The days between the first and the tenth days of the month are the days from the beginning of the month of Tishrei, when the moon is covered, and up to tenth day in it.


Shabbat Teshuva (repentance)

The Sabbath, which takes place during the Ten Days of Repentance, before Yom Kippur; it bears the name of the haftara that is read on tis Sabbath, which begins with the words: "Return Israel to the Lord your God" (Hosea 14: 2). This chapter was selected in spirit of the special days of soul – searching.

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