Rosh HaShanah may be weeks away, but the high holidays are already in the air. There is no doubt that the Jewish new year, Rosh HaShanah, differs from the new year that much of the world celebrates on January 1—no midnight countdown, no party hats, or fireworks. However, every holiday occasion is a time for thinking about one’s past and resolving to do and be better in the future. It’s a time to take stock and gain clarity and a deeper sense of self-awareness. The Hebrew word rosh ראש means “head,” and one of the meanings for shanah is “to change.” So, another way to interpret the meaning of Rosh HaShanah is שנה to change your mindset. There are many established Rosh HaShanah traditions that we all love to observe, but with all the preparation that is needed, we can neglect to prepare our hearts and minds for the high holy days. This trio of holidays—Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot—do not need to feel somber and heavy. Rather, they should be a time of inspiration and to celebrate reconnection and new beginnings. The high holidays can generate feelings of renewal and, as we gain clarity through introspec- tion, we emerge fresh and renewed.
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