Tonight we celebrate the New Year's Eve of the Jewish calendar. The Hebrew name for this fall feast is "Rosh Hashana". It is a time to be thankful and celebrate God's goodness as well as soberly prepare for the next holiday to come in 10 days: Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the year. We will celebrate by eating my most memorable dish from my time in Israel...falafels! It is traditional to eat sweet food to in honor of the sweetness of God and the hope of good things to come this year. And of course we will dance!
On Sept 28th we will celebrate Yom Kippur with a day of fasting and prayer. In the days before the temple was destroyed, (fantastic book to read aloud to children 8+ on the fall of Jerusalem, "For the Temple" by GA Henty) this was the only day the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies in the temple to sprinkle blood on the alter to atone for the sins of the nation. It was also the only day of the year in which anyone heard the Name of God spoken. Only the High Priest could say the Name of God and he would say it 10 times during the ceremony. Everyone who heard it would fall down in worship. Wow, we've fallen a long way from that! (Most often you hear God's name as a curse.) We get to celebrate this day with even more meaning because we have a Great High Priest who entered the heavenly temple with his own blood to atone for all sin once and for all! Hallelujah!! We will spend this day in repentance and thankfulness for what Jesus did to make us right with God. We will also pray for the peace of Jerusalem who has not seen peace for 2000 years and counting!