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Celebrating the Jewish High Holy Days

Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur

Happy New Year! The traditional Rosh Hashanah greeting, l’shanah tovah, means “to a good year.” It’s not only fall but it is also the annual Jewish High Holy Days and The Kensington is pleased to be observing them with our residents and family members!Kensington Resident with Rabbi Chessy Deitsch from Chabad Tysons Jewish Center

The High Holy Days are a total of ten days, beginning with Rosh Hashanah, concluding with Yom Kippur, and the eight days in between.

Rosh Hashanah (“beginning of the year”) is the day every year when God opens the books of judgment. The virtuous have their names recorded in the “Book of Life”, and the wicked have their names blotted out. Those who are somewhere in between have the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to contemplate and atone for their sins.

In addition to a service, Rosh Hashana is usually observed by dinner with family, reflection, and individual prayer. The observation may include the blowing of the shofar, a horn made from a ram’s horn, and eating sweet foods, particularly apples dipped in honey, in the hope of ushering in a sweet year. Challah, a circular bread, is also frequently eaten, as it symbolizes the circle of life.

On September 19th, Rabbi Chessy Dietsch of Chabad Tysons Jewish Center, offered prayers and reflected upon the significance of the holiday with those gathered in our Cinema room. We shared apples and honey, ate Challah as provided by the Rabbi and he blew the shofar for all!

We had the honor of welcoming back Rabbi Dietsch (and his two young sons) on September 27th to conduct a Yom Kippur service here at The Kensington. Yom Kippur, a day of atonement for one’s sins, is the highest holy day in the Jewish faith. It is a solemn day of prayer and introspection. The Rabbi provided residents and family members with a service, which included songs, the shofar and drinking of a sparkling apple cider.

Another event held at the Kensington this month celebrated Jewish culture and the Gershwin brothers, as conducted by our guest presenter, Natalie Neviasky. Natalie shared with attendees, music and stories about the famous brothers as well as the brothers’ humble beginnings in a Brooklyn neighborhood to stardom in Hollywood. George and Ira Gershwin were two of the greatest songwriters of the early twentieth century music for famous piano and orchestral pieces such as “Rhapsody in Blue”, “An American in Paris”, and the opera “Porgy and Bess”.