Neal Reizer has big plans for the year ahead, reflecting on the events of the past 12 months and how he’s spent them, and discovering opportunities for growth and transformation for the months that follow.

Like Jewish men, women and children around the world, the Nashville, Tenn., resident will welcome Rosh Hashanah—the first of the High Holidays begins the night of Sunday, Sept. 16—with a combination of celebration and introspection. He’ll join locals and visitors for a fancy five-course dinner at Chabad-Lubavitch of Nashville, the center’s first Jewish New Year celebration in its new location. With a menu of treats cooked from scratch in the facility’s kosher kitchen, the party promises to enrich body and soul.

“This is a wonderful, expansive place,” Reizer says of the new campus, which was unveiled earlier this year. “It’s got a beautiful wall of windows that overlook the trees. I’m looking forward to the fresh start in a new facility.”

And while not every synagogue and Jewish community center can see the quickly approaching Hebrew year of 5773 as marking a new beginning in the physical sense, institutions stretching from Australia to Alaska are joining with their congregants and friends in welcoming the new year’s promise of spiritual renewal.

(To locate a Rosh Hashanah service or celebration in your area via’s worldwide listing of events, click here.)

In Nashville, Rabbi Yitzchok and Esther Tiechtel want their attendees to be uplifted, inspired and empowered.

“We all have a chance to start anew,” says the rabbi, “turn over a leaf, and have the best year ever.”

In the Dominican Republic, where Rabbi Shimon and Michal Pelman discovered last year that preparing for 80 guests just wasn’t enough to meet demand, the local Chabad-Lubavitch center will be welcoming 300 celebrants for services and a meal Sunday night. They’ve also reserved 20 hotel rooms for holiday guests who want to stay put in S. Domingo.

“It’s come to be a tradition that everybody’s coming to the Chabad,” says Shimon Pelman. “The hotel looks like a synagogue.”

Rabbi Shlomo Uminer of the Chabad Jewish Center in Palm City, Fla., demonstrates how to make a shofar.
Rabbi Shlomo Uminer of the Chabad Jewish Center in Palm City, Fla., demonstrates how to make a shofar.

Festivities include a children’s event on the afternoon of the first day of Rosh Hashanah. The fifth annual service will feature a puppet show, explanatory prayers and the blowing of a ram’s horn, known in Hebrew as a shofar.

Pelman’s favorite part is seeing young people and their parents embrace their Judaism.

“This is the future,” he states. “If kids grow up with this, it will stay with them forever.”

In Rome, Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries under the director of Rabbi Yitzchok Hazan are launching a new program for American and Israeli students, offering a special Rosh Hashanah dinner for the long-term visitors who’ve made their way to the Italian capital to study for a few months, a semester, or beyond.

“They have no home here, so we want to make it feel like home,” says Hazan, adding that he’s expecting some 100 Israelis and between 60 and 80 Americans this year. “I’m sure they’re going to come back for our other holiday events.”

Danny Lemkin, who donated the kitchen where the Rosh Hashanah meal in Nashville will be cooked, sums up the season’s sentiment with an invitation to the community.

“We have guest rooms,” says Lemkin. “The most important thing is that people feel that they belong.”