Man blowing the shofar-horn at the Western Wall [Photo Credit: Comunità Ebraica di Roma]
The Jewish people have had a tradition, dating back thousands of years, to eat sweet foods in celebrating the start of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year. (With Rosh Hashana right around the corner, we hope our partners and supporters have started to receive our special High Holiday Packages from Lev Haolam!) These sweet treats are meant to herald a wonderfully sweet New Year.
In addition to eating sweet foods, we also incorporate the following customs:
- Refraining from various forms of physical labor (similar to the Sabbath).
- Dressing in formal clothing out of respect and reverence for the day.
- Sounding/blowing the shofar-horn. The shofar generally comes from the horn of a ram.
- Reading from select portions of the bible that relate to the laws of the day.
- Greeting one another with wishes for a Shanah Tovah, a Happy New Year!
Rosh Hashana is also a time in which we both reflect on the previous year and make goals or resolutions for the upcoming new year. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the news and events (some good and some bad) from the previous year.
Anti-BDS Highlights from the news:
- In July, Christian United for Israel (CUFI) held their Washington summit with some 5,000 pro-Israel activists in attendance. Pastor John Hagee spoke loud and clear, saying BDS is economic antisemitism and put his support behind pushing measures to expand anti-Israel efforts.
- Munich joined the fight against BDS. City Council Members submitted the “Against every form of antisemitism– No cooperation with the antisemitic BDS movement” bill, which prohibits the municipality from funding or hosting BDS-related activity.
- Not long after Munich, Frankfurt’s deputy mayor submitted a similar anti-BDS bill.
- The Canadian governed backpedaled after a week of protest and outpouring of pro-Israel support, when they tried to ban wines from Judea and Samaria.
- Jerusalem Wine Festival Attracts Thousands, Features Wines from Judea and the Golan Heights.
- Legislators from at least 22 States in the United States of America sign laws or executive orders banning state business with companies that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, or BDS, against Israel.
- After mounting pressure from BDS activists including Roger Waters and Ken Loach, Radiohead decides to play a well attended show in Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park.
- The large organization known as MLA, or Modern Language Association of America, rejects the BDS movement.
- Friends of Judea and Samaria in the European Parliament together with residents of Samaria sign declaration to stop terror and fight BDS.
Israel and the World:
- Despite the devastating news revolving around the hurricanes in Houston and Florida, we are able to find light in the darkness as humanity comes together. In one instance, it was a private Israeli citizen, residing in Houston, who saved an elderly couple trapped in their home. In another, it was an entire EMS team flying in advance of the Hurricane Harvey to provide psychological first aid.
- In another, separate, display of solidarity with the United States and hurricane victims, an 8-member Israeli coalition, comprised of members of The Israel Rescue Coalition (IRC) and United Hatzalah (UH) Search and Rescue team flew to the United States to assist victims of Hurricane Irma.
- Wok began on the community of Amichai (Samaria). The completion of Amichai will mark the first Israeli community to be built in the Judean and Samarian regions of Israel in 25 years.
- The Samaria Council and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu celebrate 50 years since the return of Jewish life to Samaria. Netanyahu pledges to never uproot another Israeli community in Judea and Samaria.
- Arabs throughout Israel riot in protest of security cameras that are placed on the Temple Mount entrance to protect worshipers and security personnel. The addition of the cameras came as a result of an Arab attack days earlier in which 2 Israeli security officials were shot and murdered by Arab gunmen. The cameras, after much debate, were removed from the Temple Mount entrance.
- In July, the UN’s world heritage body (UNESCO) recognized the old city of Hebron as “a Palestinian world heritage site in danger.” This came on the heels of a decision by UNESCO to condemn “Israeli actions” in Jerusalem and reject Israel’s sovereignty over the city.
- Arab vandals destroyed 10 dunams (2.5 acres) of vineyards next to the town of Esh Kodesh, near Shiloh, in Samaria. Esh Kodesh is also the home to Nati Rom, the founder of Lev Haolam, and his family.
Rosh Hashana is a 2 day holiday and this year will begin at sundown on Wednesday, 20 September and will go till sundown of Friday, 22 September. As we enter this new year, consider helping us fight BDS and support small businesses in Israel by becoming a member of Lev Haolam’s Surprise Monthly Package Project. Not only will you undertake a new, meaningful endeavor, but you will also receive beautiful boutique goods connecting you directly to the land of Israel! It has been a wonderful year and we are looking forward to sharing this upcoming year with all our supporters and members in good health, happiness, and peace. Happy Rosh Hashana and Happy New Year!