The one time I did get to go to a synagogue was when a friend of mine had his bar mitzvah. He said that Rosh Hashanah gives him a chance to cleanse his soul. He was escorted into the throne room and stood before the king.
The first day of Tishrei marks Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. On this day, Jewish people observe the first of the High Holy Days. Rosh Hashanah is also a time that Jews celebrate G-d’s creation of the world and embark on personal paths of repentance. The holiday is deeply meaningful and a perfect time for parents to teach their children about Jewish customs. One of the best ways to celebrate and learn about Rosh Hashanah is through crafts inspired by the holiday.
The other day my Labrador Daphne told me she wanted to become a Buddhist dog, as she was already proficient in downward facing dog. So I respected her decision and allowed it, even though my dream was to have a litter of Labrador puppies with yamakas on their heads celebrating Hanukkah with us this December.
In the Biblical era, the shofars were used to mark the New Year’s Day and the days of fasting. On the New Year Day, a shofar with a golden mouthpiece was played in the Temple of Jerusalem while on days of fasting; a shofar with a silver mouthpiece was played. In modern times, these horns are blown to mark the Rosh Hashanah and to mark the end of the fasting period on the day of Yom Kippur.
When the Romans invaded England, they found the Druids celebrating New Year’s Day on March 10. The pagan priest would cut off branches of mistletoe on this day and carefully allow them to fall onto a sacred blanket. The branches would then be distributed among the Celtic people to be used as magical charms and for protection against evil spirits.
Lee Avenue in Williamsburg is not just for the immediate neighborhood; Jews from all over Brooklyn come to Lee Avenue to find all the Kosher delights and other items for meals and services. Lee Avenue has actually expanded as the “growing Hasidic community in South Williamsburg” has all but demanded the growth.
“Take this pen and decide for yourself. Inscribe your name in whichever book you see fit. You are the judge and you are the one who will determine your future”.
These are meant to be days of returning to being the image of God, clinging and attaching to God, and practising tzedakah, or righteousness and justice.
This rendition captures the heart of Chassidic philosophy. Responsibility for our actions and our future are dependent on man, not G-d. It is we who ultimately determine our fate.