KM is a student at the University of Southern California studying architecture. She is from Encino, CA and has lived her whole life in Southern California. She comes from two Israeli parents and has a strong Jewish background as most of her family lives in Israel. She attended a private Jewish high school and learned Hebrew over the course of her school career. She actively participates in many holiday traditions and prayer rituals.
What other holidays do you find important to celebrate during the year?
KM: We celebrate a holiday called Rosh Hashanah, it is a Jewish holiday that we are meant to spend together as a family and we do it every year. Usually we go to San Diego for it as well.
What is the significance of the holiday and how is it related to Judaism?
KM: Well Rosh means ‘head’ in Hebrew and Shanah means ‘the year’ which kind of signifies the ‘head of the year’. So, we celebrate it as the Jewish New Year. It is the first high holiday in Judaism that is celebrated. It is kind of like an obligation for us to celebrate it every year but it is also really fun. We eat Hallah bread with honey and apples which is one of the most traditional Jewish foods. It is always in August or September when me and my siblings would be in school, but since we went to a private Jewish school, we always got the holiday off to spend with our family. It was a holiday I always remember being about spending time with your loved ones and celebrating all the things to come in the new year and next few high holidays.
Was this the most important high holiday to you? How does this tradition compare to the other high holidays?
KM: Well because we are all in college now we do not celebrate the holiday as a family anymore because it is too hard to get away from school during the week, especially now that my brother goes to school in Kansas. I have so many fond memories of the holiday but I am sad that we cannot spend it together as often anymore. This high holiday is not nearly as important to me as Hanukah though. That is one of the most well-known and widely celebrated holidays in our religion.
As one of the high holidays, Rosh HaShanah is extremely important in Jewish tradition. It is something that many Jews celebrate in the same way that Chinese people celebrate their own new year at a different time of the year than most Christians and Americans. The holiday is supposed to represent the anniversary of Adam and Eve and their realization of humanity’s role in the world according to God. In temples, you would blow a horn called the shofar in the temple as a ritual although KM does not use this practice.