The Jewish High Holy Days (Yamin Nora'im) commence this year starting at sunset Sept. 25 for Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish new year, and conclude on Oct. 5 with end of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement in faith. This article provides highlights and key facts about the High Holy Days for better understanding and for understanding of work-related restrictions during this time period.*
*NOTE: The writer of this post acknowledges that Rosh Hashanah refers to the start of the new year on the Jewish calendar, 5783. The year 2022 is used in this article for the reference of the greater community that may be more familiar with the common calendar (2022 C.E. of the Gregorian calendar, also referred to as A.D. 2022). The author also acknowledges that different Jewish traditions may vary in terms used and in manners of how holidays may be observed. Please email Jeremy Craig firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions, comments, concerns or suggestions.
Rosh Hashanah: Sept. 25-27, 2022
Rosh Hashanah marks the observance of the new year in the Jewish calendar, 5783. Considered the day G-d created Adam and Eve, it begins at sundown on Sept. 25 (1 Tishrei) and ends after nightfall on Sept. 27 (2 Tishrei). A central observance of Rosh Hashanah is blowing the shofar (ram's horn) on both mornings of the holiday, except on Shabbat, which is normally done in synagogue as part of the day's services.
The holiday includes practices such as candle lighting in the evenings and refraining from work. No work is permitted just before sunset through one hour after sunset. Prayers are said to ask the Almighty for a year of peace, prosperity and blessing, and celebrating a day when members of the faith proclaim G-d as King of the Universe. In prayers, it is often called Yom Hazikaron (Day of Remembrance) and Yom Hadin (Day of Judgement).
The holiday is also marked with foods symbolizing wishes for a sweet year ahead, including round challah bread and apples dipped in honey, among others delicacies. In some communities, additional food provides symbolism, such as pomegranates and a sweet carrot-based dish, tzimmes. It is traditional to avoid nuts as well as foods with sharp flavors. (The symbolism of food eaten - and food that is avoided - during Rosh Hashanah observances is explained in detail in a fascinating article from Chabad listed in the source citations at the end of this news posting.)
Yom Kippur: Oct. 4-5, 2022
Meaning "day of atonement," it is often considered the holiest day of the year in Judaism, and the day is dedicated to atonement and abstinence.
Observance of Yom Kippur includes fasting from before sundown until after sunset, and the lighting of a Yahrzeit memorial candle at sundown on the night of Yom Kippur.
Instead of the typical three prayer services, Yom Kippur observes five. The number five is significant due to its correlation to the word soul, which appears five times in the Yom Kippur section of the Torah and has five separate names in Jewish tradition (soul, wind, spirit, living one, and unique one).
In terms of work, no work is permitted just before sunset through just after sunset, representing a 25-hour fast with no food and no water.
During the holiday, observers will abstain from food, drink, washing, applying lotions or creams, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. This is in remembrance of the day Moses came down from Mount Sinai after asking G-d to forgive the people of Israel—who’d left Egypt and sinned by worshipping a golden calf. Modern day abstaining is meant to collectively cleanse and forgive through “affliction”—the body will be uncomfortable, and therefore the soul, which will simulate the pain of others.
For a guide to restrictions to work during these holidays, please visit the DEI Resource Library at https://dei.gsu.edu/document/jewish-holidays-22-23-through-28-29/.
For a table of other religious observances through the 2028-29 academic year, visit https://dei.gsu.edu/religious-observances/.
For questions or comments about this posting, please contact Jeremy Craig, Communications Manager for the Office of the Provost, at email@example.com.
Sources: Chabad.org; University of Missouri Inclusion & Diversity; Georgia State University Senate Cultural Diversity Committee; Yom Kippur 2021 posting at the DEI site, https://dei.gsu.edu/2021/09/yom-kippur-2021/
— Compiled/Authored by Jeremy Craig