Rosh Hashanah—the Jewish New Year—begins today, September 4, at sundown. It marks the start of the High Holy Days, a ten-day period of penitence and spiritual renewal that ends with the holiday of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby writes:
To Jewish friends and colleagues on the occasion of Rosh Hashanah 2013/5774,
It is a joy for me to send this message of warm good wishes to Jewish colleagues and communities here and around the world on the occasion of Rosh Hashanah. Thinking of your solemn celebrations, in these my first few months as Archbishop of Canterbury, I share with you hopes for new beginnings in this season of remembrance and renewal.
Already, in this new role, I have had the opportunity to meet and build friendships with many people from within the Jewish communities of the United Kingdom and more widely. It was moving, earlier in the summer on a visit to Jerusalem with some of my family, to renew friendships there and meet others for the first time, as well as to recite psalms at the Western Wall and visit Yad Vashem. Having become a President of the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ), I am also grateful for the structure and opportunities that CCJ provides through which many in both of our communities can get to know one another better.
One of the highlights of the Rosh Hashanah service for me is the thanksgiving song of Hannah, which speaks of God’s power to change, to give all that is needed and more. It is with this song as inspiration that I wish you every blessing. May we be able to say with Hannah, ‘There is no Holy One like the LORD, no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God!’
PBS Religion and News Weekly offers stories of Rosh Hashanah.