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Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

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The penitential season of the Jewish calendar is observed during the ten-day period between the first day (Rosh Hashanah) and the tenth day (Yom Kippur) of the month of Tishri. To help you learn more, Education World has searched the World Wide Web for some of the best sites about these fascinating holidays.

Rosh Hashanah -- the Jewish New Year -- ushers in the penitential season. Although only Jews observe the day, its themes of introspection, change, and renewal are universal. During the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur -- the Day of Atonement, which is marked by fasting, reflection, and prayer -- those of the Jewish faith are required to scrutinize their actions, analyze their behaviors, and make resolutions of self-improvement. Solemn in nature, these High Holy Days emphasize the ability of individuals to change for the better.

Youngsters are often introduced to the holidays by dipping apples in honey as a simple, concrete illustration of the wish that the New Year will be a sweet one.

The following Web sites are among the best to introduce -- or to continue -- the study of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. L'shanah tovah! -- "For a good year!"

  1. Holidays and Holy Days: Days of Awe: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
    This Web page is from Porchnus, a multicultural Internet initiative about various religious and interfaith beliefs. This part of the site provides a thorough description of the Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Visitors to this site will learn about God's Sefer Chaim -- a Book of Life -- in which the fates of all individuals are written, according to the Jewish faith, and the ways in which people can redeem themselves. The site also provides thorough information about the rituals, prayers, services, and other customs that are part of these holidays.

  2. High Holidays
    Starting with an explanation of the significance of Elul, the last month of the Jewish calendar, and continuing with insightful writings on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, this Web page examines the meaning of this time of year for Jews: a time for intensive personal introspection and clarification of one's life goals and purpose. This site also features various holiday activities for children and families, including recipes, family activities, stories, and art projects. This page is part of the Web site of Aish HaTorah, an international network of Jewish educational centers that provides opportunities for Jews to discover the wisdom and beauty of their heritage in an atmosphere of open inquiry and mutual respect.

  3. L'Shana Tova and Welcome to the High Holy Days on the Net
    This Web page is dedicated to the Jewish High Holy Days and covers their history, observance, relevance, and more. Activities include pictures for kids to print out and color, recipes, and a sound file demonstrating the sound of the shofar, an ancient symbol of Rosh Hashanah. The shofar, one of the earliest instruments used in Jewish music, is usually made from a ram's horn and was played in biblical times to herald important events. This page is part of the Holidays on the Net Web site, a well-organized, comprehensive, and user-friendly collection of multimedia holiday celebrations.

  4. Rosh Hashanah: The Jewish New Year
    Jewish Community Online, established in 1995, maintains this Web site to serve all Jews, from the most observant to the most secular, as well as to provide non-Jews with answers to their questions about Jewish religion, traditions, and culture. Here, learn all about Rosh Hashanah through activities, recipes, and articles on such topics as the Ten Days of Repentance, symbolic foods, and the shofar, the traditional horn that is one of the most important symbols of the holidays. A glossary of pertinent words is particularly helpful.


  • Judaism 101: Rosh Hashanah
    Judaism 101 is an online encyclopedia of Judaism, covering such general information as beliefs, people, places, language, scripture, holidays, and customs from a traditional perspective in simple, easy-to-understand words. This brief but comprehensive article on Rosh Hashanah discusses the meaning of the holiday, popular customs surrounding it, and other information. Hotlinks within the article provide definitions and other supplemental information. This article and others on this Web site offer an excellent introduction for those with little or no knowledge of Judaism and a good review for others.

  • Mishpacha: A Virtual Community for Real Jewish Families: Jewish Holidays
    This Web page is a good starting point for learning about Jewish holidays. Click on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to learn about the background, meaning, and customs associated with these holidays. Included are tips for parents to make the High Holy Days more meaningful for their children. This page is part of the Web site of (Mishpacha means "family" in Hebrew), a virtual community of Jewish families.

Article by Lauren P. Gattilia
Education World®
Copyright © 2003 Education World

Updated 08/09/2007