Rosh Hashanah – Jewish New Year 5773
Chabad LIC & The Jewish New Year
September 18, 2012 / Long Island City / Ethnic & Religious Culture in Queens / Queens Buzz. This report is about the significance of Rosh Hashanah in the Jewish faith, and includes information about the Chabad LIC community center. The report is based upon a visit I had with Rabbis Zev Wineberg and Yitzchok Moully at the Chabad LIC Center opening on September 22nd, 2011, and includes photos taken at that time.
I arrived at the Chabad LIC community center about mid evening. Rabbi Zev welcomed me into the center where there was a small gathering of friends and neighbors who had gathered to celebrate the opening of the center. Forty families have come together since Rabbi Zev and his wife Rivka arrived in Long Island City in December of 2006. Their friend, Rabbi Yitzchok, was also in attendance. Rabbi Yitzchok is also an artist and he depicts scenes and objects from Orthodox Jewish life in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Crown Heights in pop art silk screens. The photo to your right shows one of his works.
We began discussing the Chabad LIC Center as well as the history and significance of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Chabad LIC is one of 3,000 Chabad centers around the world.
Click here to learn more about the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah in LIC & Queens, and the Jewish Center in LIC, called Chabad LIC.
Rosh Hashanah – Jewish New Year 5773
Chabad LIC & The Jewish New Year
September 18, 2012 / Long Island City / Ethnic & Religious Culture in Queens / Queens Buzz. I asked Rabbi Zev to provide me with a general overview of the history and significance of Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah means ‘head of the year’ which is the Jewish New Year. The Jews celebrate Rosh Hashanah with symbolic foods and drink, as they look to the coming year. Apples and honey were being served at the opening party. The apple is a symbol of the harvest as Rosh Hashanah always occurs in the fall, while the honey is symbolic of looking forward to a ‘sweet’ year.
In the photo to your left you can see natural honey for sale. Honey is one of the foods used during Rosh Hashanah to symbolize the coming of a sweet year.
The Jewish Faith Began On A Lunar Calendar
The 2012 year is the 5773rd year of the Jewish calendar, which is based upon a lunar cycle. About 400 A.D. adjustments were made so that Rosh Hashanah was synchronized with the Gregorian calendar and now falls somewhere between September 5th and October 5th every year.
Chabad LIC - Symbolism of Rosh Hashanah in Judaism
Rabbi Zev mentioned that Rosh Hashanah celebrates the sixth day of creation, when Man and God are one. The seventh day, follows Yom Kippur, after Man has atoned for his sins. Rabbi Zev talked about the imperfections of man in an imperfect world. He said that man fulfills the purpose of creation.
Please note that this report about Rosh Hashanah is predominantly representative of Orthodox Jewish beliefs. Like most religions, there are branches of Judaism, which share many of the same core beliefs, but which differ from one another on some key points.
The photo to your left depicts the celebration opening of the Chabad LIC in September of 2011.
Rosh Hashanah In LIC - Celebration & Key Concepts
Rosh Hashanah is the celebration of the creation of Adam and Eve, who are generally referred to as the first humans. In the Jewish faith the first day of Rosh Hashanah celebrates their entry into a divine world. There are three aspects to Rosh Hashanah: 1) sovereignty, 2) covenant and 3) awakening. Ten days after Rosh Hashanah is Yom Kippur, which is the Jewish day of atonement and fasting.
In the photo of a silk screen to your left are Orthodox Jewish men in a procession, with one of them wearing yellow socks.
Judaism in LIC & Queens - Sovereignty, Covenant & Shofar
Sovereignty deals with all creation. It is about understanding Man's small place in an infinite world. Orthodox Jews believe in God as the sovereign king to whom we recognize and surrender.
The second aspect of Rosh Hashanah is focused on the Covenant between Man and God. Covenant is irrevocable bond between two parties no matter what’s going on around them or in between them. To the Orthodox Jews, covenant is about a union with god, where practicioners of the faith are one with Him. One can touch god's essence because they are a part of Him. The Covenant with God is renewed each year at this time. Hence there is a remembrance of the covenant, the commitment to it, and how one has fared in living up to one's obligations over the past year.
The third aspect is about the Shofar which is a ram’s horn. The shofar is blown one hundred times during Rosh Hashanah and represents an awakening of God within, and the commitment to Him as set forth in the Covenant. To do this one must repent their sins, which is done ten days later during Yom Kippur: the day of atonement. The shofar is used to cleanse one's sins, strengthen one's resolve and reawaken them spiritually. In the photo to your right Rabbi Zev Wineberg blows the shofar [ram's horn].
Rosh Hashanah in Queens - Parallels Between Judaism & Christianity
Based on our conversation, I could immediately see similarities in the teachings of Judaism with those of Christianity. The Jew's God as the sovereign king, is similar to the Christian belief of God the Father.
The Jewish recognition of the Covenant between God and Man, has parallels in Christianity to the idea that Jesus Christ was the son of God, and hence both God and Man. In Christianity it is believed that by God sending His only son to live amongst the people, He was demonstrating His commitment to Man.
And the shofar, as the Jewish instrument of one's spiritual awakening; brings to mind the Christian concept of the Holy Spirit, which in the Christian faith is represented by a dove.
A scholar is shown studying the sacred texts in the photo of the silk screen above.
Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur in LIC & Queens - A Time To Reflect
As mentioned above, Rabbi Zev told me that Man’s role in this world is to perfect the imperfect world. To do that, one must reflect to better understand what ond has done over the past year, with an eye toward improving one's self in the coming year.
Rabbi Zev noted that most of us are likely to repeat some of the same mistakes year, after year, after year. And yet we and God forgive ourselves. Why? Because we are one with God and nothing can alter the unity between God and Man.
Pop Art at the Chabad in LIC - Rabbi Yitzchok Moully
Things were winding down at the Chabad in LIC. Our discussion had covered a wide range of topics centered around Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. At my request, Rabbi Yitzchok gave me a brief tour of his art work, which he told me allowed him to express himself through the vivid depiction of scenes of life in Williamsburg and Crown Heights.
Yitzchok used silhouettes of people engaged in prayer or doing things in the neighborhood. He depicted everyday life in the community, including scenes of a man in prayer, of objects of significance in the Jewish faith and of scenes of religious observance. All of the pop art shown in this report is the work of Rabbi Moully. Rabbi Moully is shown seated front / left in the photo to your left.
All in all it turned out to be an interesting and informative evening. The Chabad LIC is located at 10-31 Jackson Avenue in LIC or call 718.609.0066. Shanah Tovah or Happy New Year.
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