As fall approaches, Jews throughout the world prepare for a unique ten-day period of prayer, self-examination, fasting, and repentance. It is time for the Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe, the High Holy Days: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Rosh Hashanah (literally, "Head of the Year") is the celebration of the Jewish New Year, observed on the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei. It marks the beginning of a ten-day period of prayer, self-examination and repentance, culminating on the fast day of Yom Kippur. Customs include the sounding of the shofar, using round challah, and eating apples and honey for a sweet new year.
Yom Kippur, the "Day of Atonement", is the annual Jewish observance of fasting, prayer and repentance, considered to be the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. In three separate passages in the Torah, the Jewish people are told, "the tenth day of the seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be a sacred occasion for you: You shall practice self-denial." (Leviticus 23:27). Fasting is seen as fulfilling this biblical commandment.
At Hakafa there are many ways in which we observe the High Holidays. The High Holiday season begins with our Selichot Service. On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, our volunteer congregational choir brings beauty to our holiday services. Special holiday services are also provided for young families and children. We also do Tashlich, lead services at the Council for Jewish Elderly's Robineau House, participate with the greater Chicago Jewish community in the mitzvah of Maot Chitim, and collect food for the New Trier Township Food Pantry.