Rosh Hashanah and the Book of Life

The Jewish people have been called the “People of the Book.” Books take on additional significance at this of year with the Talmud describing Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, as a time during which G-d inscribes the virtuous in “the Book of Life.” Indeed, across the world, during this season, Jews wish for each other to be written and signed in G-d’s Book of Life. 

Jewish tradition tells us that G-d does not put away this book once Rosh Hashanah has ended. Even those who did not merit being inscribed in this Book of Life on Rosh Hashanah may still be written in the Book of Life if they change their ways through repentance prior to Yom Kippur. Hence the solemnness of the High Holiday period as a season of personal reflection.

Image by Ri Butov from Pixabay

The Touro College Libraries have many books related to Rosh Hashanah and the High Holiday period.

[Maḥzor zikhron Reʼuven : le-Rosh ha-Shanah] = The complete ArtScroll machzor : Rosh Hashanah : a new translation and anthologized commentary

This is a machzor, a special prayer book used on Rosh Hashanah accompanied by an English translation, which is very popular and has been printed in many editions.

The Wolfsberg labor camp machzor, 5705 (1944)

This machzor contains a facsimile of Maḥzor Rosh ha-Shanah hand-written by from memory in Wolfsberg labor camp. When reading this machzor, one can only be awed by the dedication of the Jewish people to their faith under the most trying circumstances.

Rosh hashanah : its significance, laws, and prayers: a presentation anthologized from Talmudic and traditional sources

This book provides readers with an understanding of the many aspects of Rosh Hashanah that they may wonder about.

As librarians, we have a special appreciation for books. But at this time of year, it is fitting that we pause and reflect on how we live our lives so that we may be inscribed in the book that counts most: the book G-d opens on Rosh Hashanah. 

From the Libraries to the entire Touro Community, may you be inscribed in the Book of Life!   

This post was contributed by Michael Kahn, Librarian, Touro College School for Lifelong Education

A Moving Rosh Hashanah Prayer

May Your New Year Be Sweetened with Happiness
(Image via Flickr; CC BY 2.0)

Rosh Hashanah, in Hebrew, means Head of the Year. It is one of Judaism’s holiest days and begins this year the night of Sunday, September 9th until the night of Tuesday, September 11th. There are many moving prayers and traditions designated for the High Holy days, but I would like to highlight one prayer that goes back to approximately the 10th or 11th century called U-Netaneh Tokef (“Let us tell the mighty holiness of this day”). Continue reading

A Moving Rosh Hashanah Prayer

(via flickr
(image via flickr)

Rosh Hashanah, in Hebrew, means Head of the Year. It is one of Judaism’s holiest days and begins this year the night of Sunday, September 13th until the night of Tuesday, September 15th. There are many moving prayers and traditions designated for the High Holy days, but I would like to highlight one prayer that goes back to approximately the 10th or 11th century called U-Netaneh Tokef (“Let us tell the mighty holiness of this day”). Continue reading