Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Tristan . Tristan Wonders, “Why are Jewish calenders diffrent from the rest?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Tristan !

Rosh Hashanah is a Jewish holiday observed on the first and second days of the month of Tishrei. On the Jewish calendar, these days mark the new year. Rosh Hashanah means “head of the year” or “first of the year.”

The celebration of Rosh Hashanah has many layers. The Torah (the holy book of Judaism) calls Rosh Hashanah both Yom Ha-Zikkaron (“the day of remembrance”) and Yom Teruah (“a day of shofar blowing”).

Many of the rituals of Rosh Hashanah take place in a synagogue, which is a Jewish place of worship. One of these rituals is the blowing of the shofar, a ram’s horn trumpet.

They play one hundred notes at the start of Rosh Hashanah. The sounding of the shofar begins a 10-day period (called the “High Holy Days”) that ends with the festival of Yom Kippur.

Rosh Hashanah remembers the creation of the world. It is also a holy day of judgment when many Jewish people reflect on their actions over the course of the past year and make plans for changes in the coming new year. These changes are sometimes called resolutions. This is similar to other New Year’s celebrations. 

Over the years, many traditions have evolved around Rosh Hashanah. One of these is to feature sweet foods as a symbol of the hope for a sweet new year to come. Many children — and adults! — look forward to sliced apples dipped in honey on Rosh Hashanah.

They also dip Challah bread in honey at meals. Instead of its usual braided shape, though, the challah bread at Rosh Hashanah is baked in the shape of a circle. This symbolizes the hope that the new year will roll smoothly without unhappiness or sadness.

Another tradition many Jewish families observe during Rosh Hashanah is eating pomegranates. Many people believe these fruits have 613 seeds, one for each of the commandments from the Torah.

Do you celebrate Rosh Hashanah? If so, what other traditions does your family have? If not, how does this holiday compare to your New Year’s celebration?

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.8, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2

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Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day tastes great with butter and sugar and cheese and… well, you get the picture!