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In our newest feature, HolidayHop, Bwog will explain religious holidays so you don’t have to pretend to understand them.

TekiahShevarim Teruah… Tekiah These Hebrew words are spoken between blasts blown from the shofar, a ram’s horn. On Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, the sounding of the shofar is meant to wake Jews from complacency (and those literally sleeping in shul). This clarion call reminds them of the importance of the new year and repentance.

Traditionally, during Rosh Hashanah, apples and honey represent life. The roundness of apples represents its cyclical nature, while the honey symbolizes its sweetness. Another ritual called tashlikh, involves emptying pockets of bread crumbs into a river or ocean as an allegory for ridding oneself of sins.

Rosh Hashanah opens the “Days of Awe” or “Ten Days of Repentance,” when Jews are supposed to scrutinize their actions over the previous year and make amends. A major portion of the holiday, then, addresses divine consequences.  God opens the Book of Life on Rosh Hashanah and, as written in one of David’s psalms, the evil are “blotted out from the bok of living” (“יִמָּחוּ, מִסֵּפֶר חַיִּים;    וְעִם צַדִּיקִים אַל-יִכָּתֵבוּ,” for you nifty Hebrew readers). Perhaps David’s words are some of the earliest on divine retribution. Take that, Dante!

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L’Shana Tova!