The Jewish community began celebrating the High Holy Days with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, at sundown on Sunday. Jewish students at Westminster College said they plan to observe the holidays with family and friends.
The Jewish High Holy Days begin with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and lasts for a period of 10 days ending with Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement, the most solemn fast in the Jewish year.
“Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur is a day where you fast and think about what you want to change or have a different view on for the next year, kind of a day of repentance,” said Mara Kushner, a senior education major.
Kushner is vice president of Hillel for Utah which is an international Jewish campus organization. Hillel for Utah used to have its office on Westminster’s campus but moved to the Jewish Community Center at the University of Utah last year.
Hillel for Utah encourages Jewish students to participate in the High Holy Days. Director of Hillel for Utah Dana Tumpowsky brought apples and honey, a popular tradition during Rosh Hashanah, on Monday for all students to try. Eating apples dipped in honey signifies the hope for a ‘sweet’ new year.
“You eat lots of apples and honey [for the High Holy Days],” said Alex Bochner, a senior environmental studies major and secretary for Hillel for Utah. “I have eaten two apples all day.”
During Yom Kippur, the final day of the High Holy Days, the Jewish community customarily fasts and prays all day.
“You’re supposed to go to services all day and kind of forget about [not eating or drinking],” Kushner said. “I do normally fast, but I am doing a lot of things. I’m on the cross country team […]. I want to fast, but I am going to have to not go to practice.”
Many students said they celebrate the High Holy Days with their family and friends.
“My family went to services yesterday at Kol Ami [a reformed synagogue] and then I went to the Tashlic [a ritual of casting off of sins by tossing pieces of bread into water] today,” said Aimee Klein, a first year nursing major. “Usually my family does fasting together and then at the end we go out to dinner as a family and friends to break the fast.”
This year, the High Holy Days will last from Sept. 9 through Sept. 19.