The Significance of Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah
by Stacy on Sep 13, 2022
When September arrives, Meadow founder Stacy Valner always knows the Jewish holidays are upon us. There is just something inherently unifying in knowing that every fall, Jews around the world are celebrating Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the New Year for people of the Jewish faith.
Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, is considered the most important holiday in the Jewish faith. Occuring in the Hebrew month of Tishrei (which translates to September or October in the Gregorian calendar), it marks the culmination of the 10 Days of Awe. This is a period of introspection and repentance that begins on Rosh Hashanah. According to tradition, it is on Yom Kippur that God decides each person’s fate for the coming year. So, Jews are encouraged to make amends and ask forgiveness for sins committed during the past year. This holiday is observed with a 25-hour fast and a special religious service. Both Yom Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known as Judaism’s “High Holy Days.” For Stacy and her family, these holy days represent coming together and appreciating the many traditions of the holiday season.
Stacy’s family always begins the celebration on the eve of Rosh Hashanah with dinner together as a family at one of her siblings’ homes. The next morning always includes Synagogue services followed by lunch with family. Rather than a formal lunch with traditional Rosh Hashanah foods, Stacy’s family indulges in pizza at Mozza restaurant. Ten days later on Yom Kippur, the family attends a service on the eve of the holiday which always includes a beautiful solo performance on a cello.
This sets the tone for a somber holiday when Stacy and her family remember those lost, pray to be written into the Book of Life for the coming year, and atone for their past mistakes. It is customary to fast for 25 hours during Yom Kippur and Stacy finds great honor in being the one to host the “Break Fast” the following evening. For Stacy’s family, this meal always includes a delicious blintz souffle and all of the traditional foods like bagels, lox, cream cheese, homemade deli sandwiches, and challah bread.
In sharing how she celebrates the Jewish holidays, Stacy knows that the holidays are a different experience for each individual and their family. While there are traditions that unite the Jewish community, families celebrating also create their own traditions and memories to pass onto loved ones. So, whether it is customary for you to celebrate Jewish holidays or not, Stacy hopes that by letting you into her personal traditions, you are encouraged to appreciate your own family traditions on a deeper level.
“The message I want to share today is that it isn’t about how you gather or even for what holiday,” Stacy says. “What matters to me is time spent with my friends and family, making memories, and reflecting on how we can be good people.”