JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Sundown Sunday marks the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It a special time of year for Jews around the world.
"Rosh Hashanah is a very important Jewish holiday. This is the birthday of mankind This is when Adam and Eve were first created 5,773 years ago so this is a very important holiday. This is our birthday." said Rabbi Shmuli Novak with Chabad of Southside.
During this time it's customary for Jews to have a big family meal that includes apples dipped in honey and pomegranate. The Melameds explain the significance.
"There are suppose to be 613 seeds. Tradition is there are 613 which corresponds to the 613 mitzvot commandments in the Torah and that's why we have a pomegranate. additionally we always ask for a sweet new year so we have honey" said Kevin Melamed.
Bonnie Melamed, "It means thinking about what you wanted to accomplish the past year, if you have and starting fresh what you can accomplish fresh this year not only of course physically and financially, economic stability, but also how to be a better person. That's what it's about."
"It is said on Rosh Hashana the books are open and on Yom Kippur the books are closed." Kevin Melamed, "It's known as the 10 Days of Awe. A solemn time and an introspection time, and basically how your days will be for the next year."
While Rosh Hashanah is a special time for Jews to spend with family and friends they are also called to the synagogue to pray.
In light of the tension in the Middle East some local synagogues including Chabad of Southside have beefed up security.
Rabbi Novak said, "It's very important that we pray and that we come together and many Jewish people who perhaps wouldn't make it to services this year are thinking I really should come this year considering what's going on in the Middle East considering the safety and well being of our brothers. Obviously it's a very dangerous time in Israel. Even here many folks in Jacksonville are showing up to pray on their behalf."
First Coast News