In Judaism, there are quite a lot of religious items which are considered to be of great importance. The challah is round to signify a long life span and a smooth, even year. Still cow horns or antlered animal horns are not preferred.
Use the therapist’s secret. When you’re facing a battleaxe relative, win by refusing to fight. Accept comments about your appearance, weight or singlehood that used to upset you with a nod and say “That’s the way you see it.” This really throws them and saves you from a lot of holiday stress.
To get your guests in this reflective mindset, ask everyone what the sweetest thing they did in the last year was. Then ask them what sweet thing they would like to do this year for another person. If you find this exercise a little too sickly, ask everyone to write their answers on slips of paper and put them in hats during your party. While dessert is being prepared, display the paper strips artfully in the living room.
So you meet your Jewish friends walking along the street this week. What are acceptable ways for non-Jewish people to respectfully convey warm wishes to them for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (the Jewish New Year and Day of Atonement, reseptively)?
Challah (bread) for the New Year is often made with either a sweet dough, or sweet fruit, like raisins baked into it. Specially-shaped challah is eaten instead of the usual plaited challah that is eaten on Shabbat (Jewish Sabbath). The challah is round to signify a long life span and a smooth, even year.
The shofar is unique in that it is a musical instrument typically created from the horn of a kosher male animal. According to Rabbi Moshe Gallante II’s Elef Hamagen, the horn preferences delineate with the curved ram horn, curved other sheep horn, curved other animal horn and straight ram’s horn being the order of most preferred to least. If non-kosher animal horns are used, there must be a special bracha or blessing. Still cow horns or antlered animal horns are not preferred.
In nations where Sunnis are the majority, they can virtually have their way with the Shiites. But strangely enough, in Iran and Iraq the tables are turned. Iran is 90% Shiite and 10% Sunni while Iraq is 60% Shiite and 40% Sunni. Numbers like these are the ones that create problems. The Sunnis in Iran are at a disadvantage and oppressed while their neighbors are allowed freedom in majority Sunni countries.
And this call goes out to all Christians, not merely priests, bishops and Peter’s successor as pope, “the servant of the servants of God.” Sin, in every expression, is self-centeredness at the expense of others. We must think and speak and act with the same humility, the same emptying of self, that Christ modeled throughout His earthly ministry and all the way to the cross.
At this time of year I think about the stories I’ve heard about poor Jews brining in strangers to share their meager Shabbat dinner, only to discover that their guest was Elijah. The rabbis and administrators at temples say High Holy Day tickets are necessary because there just aren’t enough seats for everyone. What if Elijah was turned away from attending Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur services for lack of a ticket? What if allowing in that one person for free who wants to repent on Yom Kippur brought about the World to Come?