Beginning Sunday night, Jews across the world will celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year 5773, a period of both joy and reflection that arrives at a time of escalating violence in the Middle East.
Long Island rabbinical leaders are vowing that their Rosh Hashanah services will not dwell on an unstable world but, rather, focus on introspection and spiritual growth of the individual.
Local rabbis and Nassau County authorities have also made assurances that special safeguards, including heightened police patrols around synagogues during the High Holidays, will be in place here in Nassau County.
Rosh Hashanah begins the "10 days each year that we devote our full attention to the question: 'how can we be better people in the coming year?'" said , spiritual leader of the
"For that reason, my reflections tend to focus on the everyday challenges we face as individuals and families, rather than geopolitical issues."
In the Port Washington area, Reconstructionist Synagogue of The North Shore (RSNS) is offering services at 1001 Plandome Rd, Manhasset. is offering complimentary services, but pre-registration is required.
Worshippers will also observe at , and . Check here for details or contact these organizations for registration and ticket information.
Rosh Hashanah [in Hebrew ראש השנה, literally "head of the year"] is the first of the High Holy Days known for the sounding of the, readings from a special prayer book, the mahzor, and wonderful traditional foods.
It's first full day often includes a tashlikh service, where prayers are recited near flowing water and participants symbolically cast away their sins. RSNS, for example, will hold Tashlik for people of all ages – and even their dogs at 4:10 p.m. (no ticket needed) across from Baxter Pond in Port Washington, where observers will cast stones and paper into the sea.
Across the Atlantic Ocean, the tumultuous Arab Spring and its threatening repercussions in the United States have police on increased alert. Authorities have announced they will beef up patrols around area synagogues during the High Holidays. Just this week, an American diplomat was murdered in Libya and violent anti-American protests have spawned across the region.
Stressing there is no specific threat here, federal law enforcement officials have briefed local Jewish leaders about what security measures they can take. Many Long Island synagogues have heeded the warning and heightened security efforts.
Religious leaders say security is being taken "very seriously."
The Yamim Nora'im [or "Days of Awe,"] culminate with Yom Kippur, the most solemn day of the Jewish calendar known as "The Day of Atonement, which falls on Sept. 25 this year.
[Editor's Note: G-D is intentionally spelled in this manner to honor a Jewish tradition.]