On Rosh Hashanah, we celebrate the creation of the world and the start of a new year. It is a time when we can come together and celebrate with our loved ones, no matter the level of our observance. We can also reflect on what we achieved in the past year and what we want to achieve in the upcoming year.
Growing up in an unaffiliated family in the United States, it was hard for me to feel a connection to my Jewish identity, so much so that I didn’t have much of a Jewish identity at all.
It was not until the holidays that I would spend with my extended family that I truly felt Jewish. Although I have limited memories of spending time with my family doing Jewish-related activities, I still remember the apples and honey that we would eat together on Rosh Hashanah every year. Each time I would eat my apple slice and taste the sweetness of the honey, it was almost as though my body was resetting itself to focus on happiness and enjoyment for the upcoming year. The moment brought me joy, and even though I felt so disconnected from my Jewish culture and identity, I always felt a sense of renewal and bliss at that moment.
Celebrating Rosh Hashanah today, I can think back to this time of confusion in my identity and still feel that same feeling of renewal. Even if the honey doesn’t taste quite as sweet, as since then I have lost some of the family members I used to spend every year celebrating the holiday with, I can still look back and remember how it used to be. These are memories that I will truly hold on to for the rest of my life.”
What makes Rosh Hashanah so special is that you can use it as a way to start fresh, much like we do on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. We can make a list of goals, discover ourselves, decide what we want for our futures, and reflect on what we accomplished over the year. The beauty of Rosh Hashanah is that we can also use this time to connect with our Jewish identities and reflect on the amazing memories we made spending time with ourselves, our family and friends, and our Judaism.
To all who are reading, I wish you a very healthy, happy, and sweet new year!