Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, is a time of new beginnings. On this day, the best clothes were worn and “Good Year” greetings are exchanged. Originally this was a one-day festival and the Fast of Trumpets, at which the shofar was sounded. For the Jewish community this is a time of judgment, repentance, soul-searching, and also of augury for the coming year. This is an entirely public festival, in contrast to the domestic nature of most Jewish holidays. In earlier times, a ritual cleansing was enacted by casting one’s sins into the waters. Today, when possible, Orthodox Jews still assemble near the water for this rite.
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