13 September 2012

Rosh HaShanah 5773 - The Jewish New Year (2012)

Painting by artist Rochelle Blumenfeldl
L'shanah tovah tikatev v'taihatem - "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year."

The Jewish New Year is a time for reflection, in which God begins the trial of every human being. The day celebrates the anniversary of the creation of man, the sixth day of Creation of the World.

A Jewish day begins and ends at sunset, rather than at midnight. Therefore, Jewish holidays begin the evening before the date specified below.

Rosh HaShanah 
(September 16-18, 2012 / 1-2 Tishrei 5773) 

"In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe complete rest, a sacred occasion commemorated with loud blasts" (Leviticus 23:24).

Rosh HaShanah is the Jewish New Year that falls on the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei. It is observed by attending synagogue services where the shofar is heard and eating a festive meal with traditional foods such as fish, a round challah and apples and honey. Throughout theTorah, the shofar is mentioned as a special element in many ritual observances, not only at Rosh HaShanah.

For example, each new moon was announced with the blowing of the shofar. Rosh HaShanah begins the “Ten Days of Awe”. During this time it is customary to examine our relationships with ourselves, with others and with God.

Rosh HaShanah is celebrated for two days in Israel and in Orthodox, Conservative, and some Reform congregation. Other Reform congregations celebrate for one day.

The opportunity of Rosh Hashanah is too important to leave things to chance. Here's a short list of what you need to know.

Pre Rosh Hashanah

A key component of preparation for Rosh Hashanah is apologize to everyone you have wronged during the past year. The greatest extent possible, we want to start the year zero and no one to keep some pending against us. Each must also be quick to forgive those who wronged them.

Many people have the habit of going to the mikveh before Rosh Hashanah, after noon. The mikveh (bath used for the purpose of ritual immersion in Judaism), which has the power to purify certain spiritual impurities, may be an important step in the process of teshuvah (repentance). Some have the custom of visiting the cemetery on the morning of Rosh Hashanah, and pray at the grave of the righteous. Of course not pray "to" the righteous, but for God that hear our prayers on their behalf.

The morning before Rosh Hashanah, we do Hatarat Nedarim, cancellation of all the promises (vows). In terms of the Torah, say something simple like "Do not eat more candy" can be considered a vote 'legal'. So, before Rosh Hashanah, halted all votes, they were made intentionally or not. This is done by prostrating before three men (or ten if possible) and asking to be freed of the votes that were made. The annulment of the text can be found in a Siddur or Machzor of Rosh Hashanah.

Happy Rosh Hashanah

07 September 2012

Uniting Palestinians and Israelis with Yoga

Ruthie unites Israelis and Palestinians with yoga

by RALLY - AUGUST 28, 2012

In the summer of 2011, Olive Tree Yoga Foundation (OTYF) taught classes to Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities. They developed relationships with established teachers in Israel, planned the opening of an OTYF studio in Bethlehem, and brought the unifying energy of yoga to residents of the tent city protests in Tel Aviv.

OTYF’s mission is to create a powerful community of transformative leaders through the practice of yoga. Led by Ruthie Goldman, OTYF promotes and supports the teaching of yoga in communities affected by conflict, specifically, the underserved regions of the Middle East. Through yoga they aim to bring unity, strength, and possibility to Israelis and Palestinians.

In this light, OTYF consciously avoids schedule conflicts with religious holidays and does not propose any specific resolution to the conflict; their work is geared toward offering the possibility of equality for Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike. For Ruthie and friends, yoga is a part of the trajectory of the solidarity movement in Palestine and Israel. They believe that yoga can bring an inner peace to those who practice and that this, in turn, will contribute toward a path to peace.

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