Residents from Donisthorpe Hall share with JLife what Rosh Hashanah means to them and how the celebrations have changed over time.
Family gatherings, resolutions, extended meals, and delicious foods such as apples and challah dipped in honey: the traditions associated with Rosh Hashanah are both well-known and much-loved. But to what extent are they put into practice in today’s world? In a society dominated by technological and social distractions, are the customs still carried out?
A number of residents from Donisthorpe Hall – the Leeds-based care home – have helped JLife delve into the importance of the celebrations, as well as reflect on their own personal experiences marking the New Year.
“To me, Rosh Hashanah is very serious and an important thing to think about; it’s the beginning of the New Year and relates to the forgiveness of all your sins. It can also be quite solemn and sad.
“When I was younger, I celebrated it with family by going to the synagogue, praying, and having a celebration supper – this was up until I was about 22 or 23 years of age.
“Things have changed now, though, and the holiday isn’t kept up like it was when I was a youngster. Not many people do the fasting for 24 hours anymore.”
“Growing up, I remember that we all got new clothes for Rosh Hashanah, and my parents made lovely dinners and invited lots of people to call round and celebrate with us.
“I think that young people today don’t adhere to it the way that we did which is such a shame because it’s a wonderful celebration.”
“I had a lovely time celebrating Rosh Hashanah when I was younger with my mum, dad, auntie, and uncle, along with my brother and his wife – I enjoyed having a family gathering.
“These days, I think the meaning and religious side of it doesn’t mean much to the younger generation anymore which is quite a sad thing.”
“I can remember Rosh Hashanah being a great festival and holiday – a really fun time! It’s not the same now, however, and I think that might be due to the fact that the numbers in the Jewish religion are diminishing.”