Jewish High Holy Days

Chaplain (Capt.) Don Levy
435th Air Base Wing Jewish Chaplain

Rosh Hashanah, meaning “head of the year,” is the Jewish celebration of
the New Year.  It is timed with the new moon of the lunar month of
Tishri, because tradition says this is the anniversary of Creation.
This year, the first of Tishri coincides with the fourth of October;
Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset on the third of October. Secular New
Year’s celebrations usually involve levity, often to exaggerated
excess, often including abuse of alcohol. 

Rosh Hashanah, as befitting a religious occasion, is a serious time of
reflection and stock-taking.  Even so, families gather – often
over great distances, to spend the time together. In the synagogue, we
sound the Shofar – an instrument made of an animal’s horn – as a kind
of “wake-up call.” The first ten days of the year, from Rosh Hashanah
to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is fittingly called the Ten Days
of Repentance. By the onset of Yom Kippur, this stock-taking of one’s
achievements, relationships, and behaviors during the past year should
have made one ready to decide on their direction and goals for the New
Year. On Yom Kippur we observe a 25-hour fast from all sustenance and
pleasure, to remind us of the fragility of our lives and resolve
ourselves on our new paths. Anyone who is ill or has any condition
where fasting is contraindicated, is forbidden to fast. With the fast’s
end, the community gathers for a feast to celebrate this time of
renewal. Yom Kippur will take place next week. Services are at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, and 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Thursday. All services will be at the
new KMC Interfaith Center at the Ramstein Southside Chapel, building