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Beth Sholom Temple hosted a special service at the City Dock on Sept. 17 for Rosh Hashana. The Jewish High Holy Days end with Yom Kippur on Sept. 26.
Neumiro DaSilva of Beth Sholom Temple heralds in the Jewish New Year by blowing the shofar during a Rosh Hashana observance at Fredericksburg's City Dock. Rosh Hashana is the start of the Jewish High Holy Days.
Vivian Wolf said she gets two chances to make a new year's resolution.
There's Jan. 1, and then there's the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, which started at sundown on Sept. 16.
"I get two chances, a religious and a secular new year," said Wolf, co-vice president for religious life and education at Beth Sholom Temple in Stafford County.
Wolf said Rosh Hashana is a time to reflect on the past year and re-center for the coming year.
"You look at where you've been and where you want to go," she said.
Rosh Hashana marks the start of the Jewish High Holy Days, a 10-day period that ends with Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement.
Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, begins the evening of Sept. 25 and lasts until the evening of Sept. 26.
Members of Beth Sholom Temple have been observing the High Holy Days with a series of special services.
On Sept. 17, they held a children's service at the City Dock in Fredericksburg. The children's service was followed by a Tashlich service, during which participants threw pieces of bread into the river to symbolize the casting away of sins.
Harvey Gold, president of Beth Sholom Temple, said that the High Holy Days are the most holy and significant holidays for Jewish people.
Yom Kippur is marked with prayer and fasting. And the days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur--also known as the Days of Awe--are times of introspection and repentance.
"At the beginning of a new year, we start as better people and ask for forgiveness," Gold said. "It's an extremely holy, deeply religious time."
The High Holy Days aren't just a time to reflect on the self, though. Wolf said there is a large emphasis on communal prayer during High Holy Day services, and that people think about bettering the world as well as themselves.
Temple members approach Yom Kippur from a "community service perspective," she said. Members give what money they would have spent on food to organizations like the Fredericksburg Area Food Bank, and THEY hold food drives.
"We pray for all people," Gold said.
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The High Holy Days of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are the holiest time in the Jewish religious calendar. The holidays have their own unique symbols:
Shofar: A ram's horn blown at specific times during the observance of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. It symbolizes a call to repentance.
Apples and honey: Eaten on Rosh Hashana, they symbolize the hope for a sweet new year.
Round bread: According to Vivian Wolf of Beth Sholom Temple, the shape of the challah represents eternity, showing the continuation of another year.