Rosh Hashanah’s primary service is the submission to the sovereignty of heaven. Therefore, on these days, even great and prestigious individuals serve G‑d in a manner which appears to be “simple”: constant recitation of Psalms, minimal sleep on both nights (to the extent possible), and particular care not to speak idle chatter . . .

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn of Lubavitch.

Friday September 15—29 Elul

Women and girls light Holiday candles tonight to usher in the holiday. See Light Shabbat and Festival Candles for the blessings, and Candle-Lighting Times for Holidays for local candle-lighting times.

After the evening services we wish one another, “Leshanah tovah tikateiv v’teichateim—May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year!”

After reciting the holiday kiddush benediction over wine (or grape juice), we eat the challah bread dipped in honey. It is then customary to eat a sweet apple dipped in honey; the head of a fish, ram, or other kosher animal; and a pomegranate. In different communities there are other traditional foods eaten at this meal. See Rosh Hashanah Eve Meal for more about this holiday meal.

Shabbat September 16—1 Tishrei
First Day of Rosh Hashanah

Torah reading: Genesis 21:1–34; Numbers 29:1–6.
Haftorah: I Samuel 1:1–2:10.

The priests bless the congregation with the priestly blessing during the Musaf prayer.

Because it is Shabbat, the Shofar is not blown today.

Festive lunch meal; the challah is dipped in honey.

No preparation for the evening meal may take place until night has fallen. Women and girls light holiday candles using an existing flame tonight after dark to usher in the holiday. Click here for the blessings, and here for local candle-lighting times. A "new fruit" should be present on the table when the candles are lit. When reciting the shehecheyanu blessing, the kindler should have in mind the new fruit which will be eaten after kiddush. The same applies when the shehecheyanu is recited during kiddush.

When the 1st day of Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbat, the kiddush for the eve of the second day includes these five elements, in order: blessing on the wine, blessing on the sanctity ("kiddush") of the day, blessing on fire (as we do each week after Shabbat ends), Havadalah ("separation" blessing marking the close of the Shabbat), and the Shehecheyanu blessing (see above). ("Yaknahaz" is an acronym for the Hebrew words for "Wine, Day, Candle, Separation, Season").

After the holiday kiddush, before washing for bread, the new fruit is eaten. See Rosh Hashanah Eve Meal for more about this holiday meal.

The challah is again dipped in honey.

Sunday September 17—2 Tishrei
Second day of Rosh Hashanah

Torah reading: Genesis 22:1–24; Numbers 29:1–6.
Haftorah: Jeremiah 31:1–20.

All men, women and children should go to the synagogue to hear the sounding of the shofar. See the High Holiday Services and Events Directory to find a synagogue near you. Not able to leave home? Contact your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center. They will do their best to arrange for a shofar-blower to pay you a personal visit.

The priests bless the congregation with the priestly blessing during the Musaf prayer.

Festive lunch meal; the challah is dipped in honey.

Afternoon prayers.

In the afternoon, the Tashlich prayer service, in which we ask G‑d to “cast away our sins into the depths of the sea,” is recited at a body of water (sea, river, lake, pond, etc.) containing fish. See What is Tashlich? for more on the Tashlich ceremony.

Evening prayers, followed by Havdalah, we do not recite the blessings on the spices and fire.

Monday Fast of Gedaliah September 18—3 Tishrei

All men and women over the age of bar or bat mitzvah fast from dawn until nightfall, in commemoration of the assassination of Gedaliah, governor of Judea. See Today in Jewish History for more about Gedaliah. Click here for fast beginning and end times in your location.

  • Pregnant and nursing women do not have to fast on this day. Someone who is ill should consult a rabbi.
  • During the morning prayers we recite selichot (penitential prayers).
  • The Torah is read during the morning and afternoon prayers (Exodus 32:11–14; 34:1–10). After the Minchah (afternoon) Torah reading, a special fast-day haftorah is read (Isaiah 55:6–56:8).
  • During the Amidah of the Minchah prayer, all those who are fasting add a small section, “Aneinu,” to the “Shema Koleinu” blessing.