Pasadena temples are preparing for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Observances begin at sundown Sunday.
Services at the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center (PJTC) and Chabad of Pasadena marking the arrival of the year 5783 on the Hebrew calendar will be held Sunday night — the day begins at sundown on the Hebrew calendar — and continue Monday and Tuesday.
Observances feature the blowing of the shofar, a ram’s horn described 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.
Rosh Hashana is a time when Jews gather with family members and their communities to reflect on the past year and the one beginning. Celebrants also eat festive meals featuring apples dipped in honey, symbolic of the wishes for a sweet year.
Rosh Hashana ushers in the Days of Awe, 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.
Chabad of Pasadena has scheduled special selichot services before the morning prayers on Sept. 25. Selichot services are communal prayers for divine forgiveness said during the High Holiday season or on Jewish fast days.
The night before Rosh Hashanah, women and girls light holiday candles to usher in the holiday. After evening services, wishes of “Leshanah tovah tikateiv v’teichateim” – which means “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year!” – are exchanged, followed by a recitation of the holiday kiddush benediction over wine or grape juice, and eating the challah bread dipped in honey. It is then customary to eat a sweet apple dipped in honey.
Erev Rosh Hashanah services at the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center start at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, but activities in preparation for Rosh Hashanah and the other of the Jewish High Holy Days – Yom Kippur – have been taking place in person as well as online for the whole month of August.
Day 1 of Rosh Hashanah is Monday, Sept. 26, with a Torah Service at 10:30 a.m. Torah Service also occurs on Day 2, Tuesday, starting at 10:30 a.m.
The PJTC celebration continues through Tuesday with a Louis B. Silver Religious School and Family Service, at 4 p.m., followed by an all-ages Tashlich Ritual and Adult Learning at 5 p.m., both at the LA Arboretum.
Tashlich is a symbolic casting away of our sins and is a spiritual journey, which is done in concert with Teshuvah (repentance) during the High Holy Days, and is performed by traveling to a running body of water, reading a prayer passage for the occasion, and tossing bread crumbs representing your sins into the water.
At Chabad of Pasadena, Day 1 begins with Shacharit prayers – the first of three periods of daily prayer – at 10 a.m., followed by a Children’s program at 11 a.m. and the blowing of the shofar – a ram’s horn – at 11:45 a.m. A kiddush lunch follows services.
Mincha – the afternoon prayer service in Judaism – is at 6 p.m. Tuesday, followed by Maariv – the third period of daily prayer – and candle-lighting.
Day 2 features the same sequence of morning services, Mincha and Maariv at 6:15 p.m. The holiday ends at 7:19 p.m., according to the Chabad of Pasadena.
PJTC requires online registration for all community members for Rosh Hashanah, whether they’re attending in person or virtually. To register, visit https://www.pjtc.net/form/high-holy-days-5783.html.
Chabad of Pasadena also encourages advanced registration for all events starting with Erev Rosh Hashanah, and to choose between indoor services in the synagogue, or outdoors in an open tent.
To register for Chabad of Pasadena events, visit https://www.chabadpasadena.com/templates/articlecco_cdo/aid/5617546/jewish/Reservations.htm.