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Jewish Community Welcomes a New Year

Sara Sobel, of Temple B'nai Chaim in Georgetown, talks to Patch about the Jewish New Year's history and its customs.

Tonight, the Jewish community celebrates a New Year at sundown. The celebration lasts until sundown Friday.

Sara Sobel, of in Georgetown, talked to Patch about the holiday’s meaning and its customs.

Rosh Hashanah, she said, literally means “head of the year.

“It falls once a year during the Hebrew month of Tishrei, 10 days before Yom Kippur — ‘the day of atonement,’” Sobel said. “Together, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are referred to as the Yamim Nora’im, or the Days of Awe. In English, they are commonly known as the High Holy Days.”

The holiday is “one of Judaism’s holiest days” as it “commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates with Yom Kippur,” she said.

On Rosh Hashanah, Jews “attend synagogue as a community and greet each other with the Hebrew phrase, ‘L’shanah Toyah,’ which translates [to] ‘for a good year,’” Sobel said. “We eat apples dipped in honey to signify the hope that the new year will be sweet.”

Sobel said the Jewish community also eats “challah,” a bread that is baked into a round shape instead of customary braided loaf, “so symbolize the cyclical nature of life.”

Temple B’nai Chaim is holding a variety of services to celebrate the holiday. Services begin tonight at 7:45 p.m. in the Wilton High School auditorium, Sobel said. Services continue at 10:15 a.m. on Thursday at the high school.

“The public is invited to a Rosh Hashanah children’s service, also on Thursday, at 3 p.m. at the synagogue,” Sobel said. “The public is also invited as we celebrate the second day of Rosh Hashanah on Friday, Sept. 30 at 10:15 a.m. at the synagogue.”

Sobel said Temple B’nai Chaim “recently expanded to a new building nestled in the woods of Georgetown.”

“Our members are mainly from Fairfield County, with the majority living in Ridgefield, Wilton, Weston, Redding and Westport,” she said. “The temple was founded more than 30 years ago and has been in its current location since the late 1980s.”

Temple B’nai Chaim is located at 82 Portland avenue in the Wilton section of Georgetown.

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