Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah

Our customers come from varied, diverse communities. Understanding the occasions that matter to people can help us support and connect with them. Many people across the UK will be marking the Jewish festival of Rosh Hashanah from the end of September.

We talk to Post Office colleague Michael Arlington about the festival and what it means to him. 

“Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates in the Yom Kippur holiday, also known as the Day of Atonement. 

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the two ‘High Holy Days’ in the Jewish religion

This year the festival begins at sunset Sunday 29 September and ends Tuesday night 1 October.

Families traditionally start the holiday with an evening meal.

Jewish holidays begin at sunset before the day of the holiday. Menus vary from house to house, but two customs are widely followed. 

  • We make or buy a round challah; the roundness of the bread symbolizes the never-ending cycle of time.
  • The apple dipped in the honey symbolizes the hope that the coming year will be a sweet one.

We are also mindful of the harm we have done to friends and loved ones and express our regret and ask forgiveness.

We go to our house of prayer to mark the two days of the festival and in the afternoon of the first day we cast off our sins called Tashlich, the Hebrew word for “send off” or “cast away.”

It is traditional to go to a body of moving water, such as a lake, river for a ceremony in which we symbolically cast off our sins by emptying crumbs from our pockets into the water and saying a small prayer.

Rosh Hashanah customs include sounding the shofar (a cleaned-out ram's horn), as prescribed in the Torah,

I especially like this festival as it is a time of reflection and we have family around to share it.”

To all Postmasters, branch colleagues and customers celebrating Rosh Hashanah:

Shana Tovah, to you and your family.