High Festivals

Introduction. The Jewish New Year and Day of Atonement differ from other festivals in that they are more concerned with the individual; there is less national or historical significance associated with them than with other holy days in the Calendar.

The New Year brings the individual before his God and touches upon the ideals of life, sin and repentance. Because of the critical nature of these concepts, Rosh Hashanah is preceded by a period of preparation in which people attune themselves to the proper mood for the great day.

The month of Elul and Selichot. Throughout the month of Elul, the shofar is sounded on weekdays after the morning service to remind the worshippers of the forthcoming holy days. Further, in order to inspire a mood of penitence, special "Selichot" or penitential prayers are recited as the Festival days draw near. The first Selichot service is held early in the Sunday morning of the week prior to the New Year (and better still at midnight when the stillness of the hour creates the atmosphere of solemnity suited to the penitential period).





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08 Jun 2005 / 1 Sivan 5765 0