Scrolling Headlines:

UMass men’s basketball falters in the second half, falling to George Washington 83-67 Thursday -

February 24, 2017

UPDATE: SGA announces second and third artist for ‘Mullins Live!’ -

February 23, 2017

Divest UMass and STPEC host panel on building ‘solidarity economies’ in the Trump era -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s basketball losing streak extends to 10 games after loss to URI -

February 23, 2017

Sixth annual Advocacy Day set to take place March 1 -

February 23, 2017

Panel discusses racial, sexual and psychological violence in response to art exhibit -

February 23, 2017

Judy Dixon enters final season with UMass tennis with simple message: One match at a time -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball enduring early-season limitation in playing in New England -

February 23, 2017

Minutewomen softball begins season with cross-country travel, string of tournaments -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball looks to bounce back from disappointing 2016 season -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior Hannah Murphy is Angela McMahon’s latest legend in the making -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior defenders accept leadership roles in quest for ninth consecutive Atlantic 10 Championship -

February 23, 2017

Kelsey McGovern rejoins UMass women’s lacrosse as an assistant coach after starring for Minutewomen -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse looks to continue improving throughout 2017 season -

February 23, 2017

Spring Sports Special Issue 2017 -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defense relying on senior leadership with new faces in starting lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball fills holes left by seniors with freshmen for 2017 -

February 23, 2017

The Hart of the Lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defenseman Tyler Weeks makes his way back from ACL injury -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball prepares for a long, busy season in 2017 -

February 23, 2017

And so begin the Jewish High Holidays

The start of the new semester at the University of Massachusetts is a time of optimism and renewal. This year especially brings several exciting changes to campus life: the renovated Campus Center has a newfound glow, Late Night at the dining commons is an indulgence now available seven days a wee and we have a promising new chancellor with some smooth dance moves.

The Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur conveniently fall around this time of new beginnings. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, began last night, while Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, follows 10 days thereafter. Complete with special services, festive meals and lack thereof, the High Holidays are among the most widely observed on the Jewish calendar and are filled with tradition and significance.

For food, apple slices dipped in honey are the quintessential Rosh Hashanah appetizer, meant to symbolize the sweetness of the year ahead. This dish is delicious so long as the apple slices do not turn brown by the time they are served. This is a legitimate concern as the meal is often delayed by excessive familial gushing over how much you have grown since your Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Mixing the apples with orange juice beforehand usually does the trick.

Another important element of the Rosh Hashanah service is the blowing of the Shofar, the ram’s horn whose resonant sound was used as a call to assembly in ancient Israel. On Rosh Hashanah, however, the Shofar’s ominous tone serves as a reminder of one’s obligation to reflect on the past year.

The task of blowing the Shofar is assigned to a member of the congregation with exceptional lung capacity, and for good reason: following a series of short toots, the Shofar-blowing routine culminates in one final note that lasts until the blower literally runs out of breath. The poor congregant’s face unfailingly resembles a tomato by the time they complete the grueling task.

Another Rosh Hashanah tradition is Tashlich, which translates as “casting away,” and is performed on the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah by taking a pleasant stroll to a nearby body of flowing water, such as a river or stream. The tradition involves symbolically casting away one’s sins by throwing stale bread crumbs into the water. The ducks immediately flock to this complimentary annual feast.

Teshuvah is the Hebrew word for repentance. In the 10 days that separate the two holidays, known as the Yamim Noraim, or Days of Awe, it is traditional to reflect on the wrong-doings one has committed to others over the past year and to reconcile them via a personal verbal apology.

For the “Mean Girls” fans out there, this may evoke the image of superficial high school girls making ridiculous public confessions (“Gretchen, I’m sorry I laughed at you that time you got diarrhea at Barnes & Nobles. And I’m sorry for telling everyone about it. And I’m sorry for repeating it now.”) The apologies exchanged during the Days of Awe (hopefully) carry more weight and sincerity. The Ten Days of Awe culminate in the grand finale of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which is the most critical Fast Day on the Jewish calendar. As its name suggests, Yom Kippur is a day designed to atone for one’s sins over the past year – yet unlike the practice of interpersonal apologies performed during the Ten Days of Awe, this atonement is meant to be achieved internally.

It is customary to wear white on Yom Kippur as a symbol of spiritual purity, and the service contains especially slow and mournful melodies that establish the day’s somber tone.

After a full day of prayer and introspection, the ultimate gratification comes, of course, from the much-awaited break-fast in the evening. Bagels are usually included.

And that concludes my preview of the Jewish High Holidays – Shana Tova to all!

Merav Kaufman is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at merav@student.umass.edu.

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