June and July are good months in which to begin thinking about the upcoming Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The exact dates for Rosh Hashanah are the evening of September 18, 2009 through September 20th. Yom Kippur begins at sunset on September 27, ending at night on the 28th.
What does this have to do with Etsy? Keep reading….
These are the most important holidays in the Jewish religion. Even though most people are familiar with Rosh Hashanah, literally the “head of the year”, as being the Jewish New Year, it’s also the Day Of Judgment, where names are written into three books, decided upon by their comportment over the previous year: good, “middle class”, evil. The books for good and evil are sealed at that point. Over the ensuing 10 days leading up to Yom Kippur, the people in the “middle class” are judged, after which that book is sealed.
Most of the time over these two holidays is traditionally spent in the synagogue and at home, since work is not permitted. The most significant ritual item in the synagogue, during Rosh Hashanah and at the termination of Yom Kippur, is the shofar – a hollowed out ram’s horn that’s blown at regular intervals.
Of course, what’s any Jewish holiday without food symbology?
During Rosh Hashanah, the traditional greeting is “Shana Tova U’Metuka” translated: “May you have a happy and sweet year.” So, we represent this sweetness in the foods we eat. Rather than traditional Challah (the braided bread), we eat special Challah baked with raisins and formed into a circle. We dip the Challah and fruit, traditionally apples, into honey. We bake honey cake.
Yom Kippur, as the Day of Atonement, is a fast day. We don’t eat or drink for about 25-26 hours (until the final blowing of the Shofar at the close of Synagogue services well after sunset). Over the course of the day we recite a special prayer of forgiveness for all our transgressions over the past year. Interestingly, all the transgressions are named and we lightly hit our chest with a fist as we recite each one. The idea is to ask forgiveness for them all, because we might have forgotten about some we’ve committed.
After the final blowing of the shofar, we return home (or to someone else’s home) to break the fast with a festive meal.
So, whether you’re a crafter looking for ideas to prepare to tie into these upcoming holidays, or a shopper, planning ahead for a unique and handcrafted holiday – look to the Team EtsyChai for some inspiration:
- Apples and Honey sets
- Honey pots
- Jewelry with: shofars, apples, beehives
- Cards for Rosh Hashanah (they aren’t used for Yom Kippur) “May your life be inscribed in the book of life for good” is a common wish during this time
- Special yarmulkes/kippot/skullcaps (white is traditional color for these holidays)
- More ideas to be featured here in the coming weeks, come back soon!
Imagination and creativity is the key. And, aren’t we on etsy because we’re creative?
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