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Rosh Hashanah Insights

Contemporary Messages & Thoughts

Insights and thoughts on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and its traditional observances and prayers.

12 People Who Left Their Mark on Rosh Hashanah
Read about the heroes, sages, and ordinary people who have forever left their imprint on how we celebrate the Jewish New Year
What the Woman Yelling in the Market Was Trying to Say
It’s important to take my personal experience and perception of pain and put it aside as I try to step into the other woman’s shoes.
Our Father, Our King
The Power of "Avinu Malkeinu"
Our relationship with G‑d is uniquely two-fold: we are his children, yet we are also his subjects.
10 Things I Really Don't Want to Hear from My Rabbi on Rosh Hashanah
An open letter
Rabbi, here are a few tips, just suggestions mind you, of things you might say in your sermon that might interest me—if come.
Rosh Hashanah Unwrapped
It comes gift-wrapped from heaven with ribbons, strings and knots. And with each unraveling comes another discovery, and with each discovery a deeper wisdom.
Rosh Hashanah and the Role of the Human Being
The Whole World In Our Hands
What is the job of the human being? It is to give the world meaning. And without meaning, the world can barely be said to exist.
What Brought This Rebel Back for Rosh Hashanah
On the utter awesomeness of the Days of Awe
By adolescence I was doing my own thing on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur—and it wasn't anywhere near a synagogue.
The Possible World
What Happens on Rosh Hashanah
Imagine Bugs Bunny walking in to a Warners Brothers corporate meeting. "Hi docs! I'm here to plead my case. I make children laugh, adults chuckle…" They: "But we're sitting here now deciding whether or not Bugs Bunny is going to exist!"
Time to Reach Out
Funerals are always sad, but do you know when they are truly tragic? When the mourners are too busy fighting among themselves to really pay their respects to the departed.
What Would We Do Without Rosh Hashanah?
What if there were no season dedicated to self-appraisal and assessment? Would we create it on our own?
The Essence-Cry
There are things that are important, even very important for us, so we speak about them. And then there are things that shake us to the core . . .
11 Reasons Why We Blow the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah
An artistic presentation of images and text
Let’s take a look at 11 reasons given for blowing the shofar on Rosh Hashanah.
The Nusach Ari Synagogue
A forgotten synagogue, with forgotten people, who were themselves from a forgotten time and a forgotten land...
Days of Awe
Unless you're particularly religious, "G-d" is probably not a word that you use comfortably
The 48-Hour Brain
Once you get inside the brain, you can do just about anything. You can waken memories, restore lapsed talents, alleviate fears, magnify joys, abolish prejudices, stimulate interest and charge up motivation. You can basically re-program you life -- at least for a year
Adam's Birthday
Some of my best friends are atheists. And I can hear them saying: "You can be a moral and ethical person also if you don't believe in and respect G-d"
Chanah's Prayer
This, then, is the secret of prayer: The entire world may be ripping apart at the seams, but the beseecher’s heart and mouth are at peace as one. And then that peace spreads outward into all things.
Career Advice
Next week is Rosh Hashanah and I want to attend your services, but the last thing I need is my boss on my case for missing work. Should I just skip the services?
Sweet Stings
On Rosh Hashanah we eat apples and honey for a sweet new year. Why specifically apples and honey?
Cooking the Year
Golan apples dipped in honey; raisins and bananas; pumpkin jam, apple jam and quince jam; leek, dates; pomegranate seeds; candied carrots; beet leaf and sunflower seed patties; piquant fish; heart and lung cooked with black-eyed peas (rubia); and tongue cooked in tomato and leek . . .
Broken New Year's Resolutions
Many New Year's resolutions don’t last very long. What is the secret to maintaining our resolve in the long term? Perhaps the secret is shifting focus -- it's not about your improvement at all...
The Kabbalistic Spin on Rosh Hashanah
Why is everything determined on an annual basis? Can’t an eternal and infinite G‑d plan a little further in advance? According to Kabbalah, once a year G‑d loses interest in His creation pastime . . .
It's OK to Be Imperfect
Should he leave as logic dictated? Or should he stay, as his heart was inexplicably urging him? But, he'd left his Jewish learning behind so many years ago. He was afraid to even pick up a prayer book, concerned that he would look foolish to the others...
The Sound of Imperfection
The second sound, the teruah, is the mournful tune of exile, sung by us—the Jews of Diaspora. It is the mouthpiece for those who know too much pain, leaving them with no energy – or worse, no willpower – to blow on...
Last Year Wasn't That Bad
The attitude of "last year was bad" is wrong, a lie.
Head of the Class
It's a sign of maturity to want to test your mettle against the big boys, to challenge yourself to be your best, and let the honors fall as they may.
Changing G-d's Mind
It was precisely the inconceivably audacious nature of Hannah’s prayer that placed it at the center of the Jewish definition of prayer.
Rosh Hashanah Codes
G‑d's blessings are like codes that need to be decoded to discover the hidden opportunities that lie within them.
Why Rosh Hashanah Challah Is Round, Not Braided
What’s wrong with the old, traditional braided challah?
New-Year Thought of a New New Yorker
America is grounded in immigration, and Jews have played a big part in its story.
Honey in Jewish Law, Lore, Tradition, and More
What the Torah has to say about this Rosh Hashanah favorite
It is through our togetherness, both "united," and "as one," that we don't take into account the level of the other, and we see every Jew as important and necessary.
The Gas Jockey Who Revolutionized My Rosh Hashanah
As the Days of Awe approach, most of us realize that we are not where we’d like to be spiritually. We haven’t attained the goals we set ourselves in the previous year, or the many years prior.
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