Westside synagogues observe Rosh Hashanah

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In Judaism, Rosh Hashanah means more than just a new year - it commemorates the birth of the world and all humanity at the creation of Adam.

Although it's a time for celebration, it's also regarded as quite a solemn festival. This period culminates in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, when penitents reflect on the previous year and look to the year ahead with hope and optimism. An apple dipped in honey is another traditional Rosh Hashanah food.

It's considered a major date in the Jewish calendar, and the majority of Jews keep or mark it in some way, regardless of their levels of religious observance the rest of the year.

Last year it was held on October 2 and the date changes each year.

Congregation Ahavath Achim, 6686 S.W. Capitol Highway, Portland: The Congregation's Thursday services will include a 6:30 p.m. afternoon service, a 6:45 p.m. Tashlich, an evening service at 7:10 p.m., and a candle lighting after 7:52 p.m.

In many synagogues, there will be a blowing of a ram's horn, or shofar, today to signal the new year, the year 5778 in the Hebrew calendar. Its blast acts as a call for repentance.

Fish heads are also eaten, to symbolise the head of the year, and pomegranates, which are said to have 613 seeds, similar to the 613 commandments in the Jewish holy teaching.

Rosh Hashanah is typically celebrated in September, although the exact dates move each year, unlike in the Gregorian New Year.

How do people of the Jewish faith celebrate Rosh Hashanah?

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