LANCASTER – Rosh Hashana begins at sundown Friday with local online services planned because indoor religious services are prohibited under public health orders.
The California Department of Public Health is encouraging families to participate in services within their own homes whenever possible to reduce the risk of the coronavirus.
When religious ceremonies require a particular number of individuals to be present, if families are unable to do so on their own and feel it is absolutely necessary, they should carry out the act outdoors at least 6 feet apart from others while wearing a face covering, according to Dr. Erica Pan, the acting state public health officer.
The practice of gathering for festive meals featuring apples dipped in honey, symbolic of the wishes for a sweet year, is also discouraged by the California Department of Public Health.
People are encouraged to connect with relatives virtually and families to only consume food they have prepared within their own home.
Rosh Hashana marks the Jewish New Year and ushers in a 10-day period of repentance and contemplation culminating in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, Judaism’s most solemn and somber day.
During the High Holy Days, Jewish tradition holds that God records the fate of each person for the coming year in the Book of Life, which is sealed at the end of Yom Kippur.
Services marking the arrival of the year 5781 on the Hebrew calendar will be held Friday evening — the day begins at sundown on the Hebrew calendar — and Saturday and feature the blowing of the shofar, a ram’s horn mentioned in the Torah and used by ancient Jews in religious ceremonies and as a call to arms and now used at Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
Jews are biblically commanded to hear the shofar during the High Holy Days.
Congregation Beth Knesset Bamidbar, the Reform Jewish Congregation of the Antelope Valley, will stream its High Holy Days events on its Facebook page [here] and via Zoom. Participants should email firstname.lastname@example.org to get a Zoom invitation.
In his Rosh Hashana message President Donald Trump said, “As this 10-day period of celebration, devout prayer, reflection, and repentance commences, we are reminded of how important faith, family, and fellowship are to each of us,”
“Particularly during these challenging times, the sense of peace and reassurance that comes with these observances has never been more important in helping us seek His wisdom and understanding as we continue to grow in our faith.”