September 15, 2015

Dear LABC,

Because there are families in our congregation who observe the Jewish holidays, because Christianity and Judaism are sister faiths and because there are parallels between the Jewish New Year and the unofficial beginning of the church year marked by Homecoming Sunday, I am sharing the following offering  about Rosh Hashanah from the Huffington Post with you this week.

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is celebrated in 2015 from sundown on Sept. 13 to the evening of Sept. 15. In the Hebrew calendar it falls on 1 and 2 Tishrei 5776.

Though Rosh Hashanah literally means “head of the year,” the holiday actually takes place on the first two days of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, which is the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar. This is because Rosh Hashanah, one of four new years in the Jewish year, is considered the new year of people, animals and legal contracts. In the Jewish oral tradition, Rosh Hashanah marks the completion of the creation of the world.

Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days, or Yamim Noraim (the “Days of Awe”), and is followed 10 days later by Yom Kippur, the “day of atonement.” The Mishnah refers to Rosh Hashanah as the “day of judgment,” and it is believed that God opens the Book of Life on this day and begins to decide who shall live and who shall die. The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are viewed as an opportunity for Jews to repent (teshuvah, in Hebrew) and ensure a good fate.

Jews traditionally gather in synagogues on Rosh Hashanah for extended services that follow the liturgy of a special prayerbook, called a mahzor, that is used during the Days of Awe. At specific times throughout the service, a shofar, or ram’s horn, is blown. The mitzvah (commandment) to hear the shofar, a literal and spiritual wake-up call, is special to this time of year.

The new year is the only Jewish holiday that is observed for two days by all Jews (other holidays are observed for just one day within the Land of Israel) as it is also the only major holiday that falls on a new moon.

A common greeting on Rosh Hashanah is shana tovah u’metukah, Hebrew for “a good and sweet new year.” Many traditional Rosh Hashanah foods — apples and honey, raisin challah,honey cake and pomegranate — are eaten, in part, for this reason.

Thus, shana tovah u’metukah to you all! With the greeting an invitation to join us for Homecoming Sunday on September 20. We worship at 10:00 and have our potluck (please bring an entrée or side dish) at 11:30. Thanks to the Ladies Night Out gathering for hosting the luncheon.

Prayers of the Congregation

  • The family of Georgia Smith as they mourn her death (September 8)
  • Gloria Meads as she mourns the death of her aunt
  • George Lee as he mourns the death of his cousin
  • Those fighting the wildfires in California and the West and those impacted by them
  • All who are fleeing war, devastation and famine as well as those who are responding to their plight
  • Thanksgiving for all who are involved in the ministry of Christian Formation at LABC
  • Helen Harrison for Mike Casey and Amy Huh
  • All who are grieving
  • Ted and Doris Evans
  • Joan Patten for Peter and Paula
  • Margaret Oladoja and family
  • Paul McClendon, searching for housing
  • Ratna Singh, recuperating from surgery
  • Katrina Lau for her sister-in-law’s mother
  • Sheila Sims for her brother, Charles Tregle
  • Tyrone Mack for Mrs. Moore
  • Bjoe Morris, recuperating from a broken hip (Needs a bed at home he is going to. Call him at 510-712-4532)
  • Dave Robinson and the Staff of Correctional Institutions Chaplaincy as they minister in the Santa Clara County Jails
  • Thanksgiving for our Young Adults and their ministry in “A Place to Reflect”