The UK is estimated to have the fifth largest Jewish population in the world - just under 300 thousand people in the UK practice the Jewish faith, notably in London, Manchester and Leeds. We mention all kinds of other holidays, but as the Jewish calendar holidays aren’t national days off in Britain, we don’t usually have a lot to say.
However, some of our team members and many of our customers are Jewish, and we felt we should acknowledge the two important dates that fall this September.
The first is Rosh Hashanah (Otherwise spelt Rosh Hashana) the Jewish New Year celebration, which lasts for two days from Monday, 6 September this year.
There are all kinds of religious calendar reasons that explain why Rosh Hashanah falls on different dates and outside of the Gregorian calendar, but what’s important is the festival itself: it’s a time to reflect – to take stock of the past and look ahead with hope and prayers and plans for personal growth.
Jewish traditions see families gathering for special meals and prayers for Rosh Hashanah, and is very much about community and fresh starts for the New Year. Working is not permitted on these holy days.
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is pretty much the holiest of the Jewish holidays, with Jewish people spending the day fasting and praying (except for children and those for whom fasting is dangerous).
There’s a fourty day lead up to the event, which this year it falls on September 15, 2021.
A period of abstinence and prayer lasts from sundown on the day before Yom Kippur until nightfall on Yom Kippur. Once the fasting ends, it's broken, often with breakfast foods such as bagels and eggs dishes or a special feast.
“Have a happy fast” doesn’t sound at all right, especially as it’s a time to reflect, not to party, so if you’re ‘celebrating’, may we wish you an easy fast!
“Shana tova”, have a good year.
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