The Jewish High Holidays are almost upon us. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins Friday evening, September 26. Whereas Rosh Hashanah is festive in nature, with many good wishes exchanged for a sweet new year, ten days later comes the Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur (beginning the evening of October 5). This is the most solemn day on the Jewish calendar, when Jewish people spend the entire day fasting and praying in the synagogue for God to forgive their sins. Like many Easter Christians” who only come to church once a year, so many Jewish people only come to the synagogue at this time of year. But what an opportunity it is, for it is the one time of year when even secular Jews will be thinking about sin. And of course, without a recognition of sin, the concept of a savior makes no sense.
What can you do? You can send Rosh Hashanah greeting cards to your Jewish friends to keep building your friendship. If you didn’t get to order a box of our cards this year, you should still be able to find a selection of someone else’s cards at your local Hallmark shop. On the Jewish New Year, greet your Jewish friend with “Happy New Year!”
And pray that at this time of year, God might open up doors of opportunity for you to share Yeshua, Jesus, through Whose death our sins are forgiven, and Who gives us not just a new year—but a new life! For ideas on how Jesus relates to the High Holidays, visit
and type “Rosh Hashanah” or “Yom Kippur” into the search box for articles we’ve written on these holidays.
And if you already knew all of the above concerning the High Holidays, here’s a little something you may not know:
For some religious Jews, the month preceding the High Holidays (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) is a time to recite special penitential prayers in the synagogue—after midnight! In some eastern European Jewish towns of days gone by, the synagogue sexton would go from house to house, knock on the doors and call people to the synagogue saying, “Wake up, wake up for the service of the Creator, hasten to the synagogue. Fathers, mothers, boys and girls, wake up and come to serve the Creator!” In Kurdistan, the children would rouse one another, and pour water on those who were slow to get up. In Yemen, the children tied a string around their feet and hung it out the window, so the sexton could awaken them by pulling on the string. Source: The Rosh Hashanah Anthology by Philip Goodman, pp. 274, 299-300.
Note: While we do suggest that you send a card to your friends, we do not recommend waking them up at midnight, pouring water on them or tying strings to them. 🙂