Queen’s Jewish community celebrates Rosh Hashanah

Shana Tova U’metuka!

Rosh Hashanah began on Sept. 25.
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Year 5783 began Sunday at sundown with Rosh Hashanah, which is the Jewish New Year on the Hebrew calendar. 

The celebration marks the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days with many Jewish Queen’s community members returning home to spend the holidays with family and friends. Organizations like Queen’s Hillel are marking the occasion with events and services.

“To be away from home for the holidays can be really challenging,” Georgia Gardner, chair of Queen’s Hillel, said in a statement to The Journal.

“Celebrating the high holidays with our Jewish community at school makes the new year special in a different way. It reaffirms the strength of the Jewish community.”

Rosh Hashanah is often celebrated with sweets like challah bread, baked in round loafs instead of the usual braids to symbolize the cyclical nature of years and seasons. Apples dipped in honey are another tradition that symbolize hopes for a sweet new year.

Over 200 Jewish students and community members attended a dinner at Kingston City Hall on the first night of Rosh Hashanah co-hosted by Hillel and Chabad.

The High Holy Days end with Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement.

Unlike the joyful celebration of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur is a day where people ask God for forgiveness for their sins. It is on Oct. 5 this year.

“On [Yom Kippur], we fast from sundown the night before, until sundown the day of Yom Kippur […]. Here, we ask for forgiveness from both God and our fellow humans. We treat this as a solemn day in fasting and prayer,” Gardner said.

Queen’s students and faculty members observing Rosh Hashanah are eligible for accommodations over the holidays upon request.

“On Yom Kippur, know that some of us may be in class but fasting, or if we are not in class, please respect our religious holidays and practices,” Gardner added.

Students can enjoy a pre-fast meal at the Hillel House on Erev Yom Kippur (the evening before Yom Kippur). Students can attend services at the Beth Israel Congregation free of charge. 

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