Jews in the Eastern Suburbs recited prayers near flowing water, blew trumpets made of rams’ horns and ate fish heads and honey-dipped apples at the weekend, in celebration of the Jewish New Year.
Rosh Hashana, which literally means “head of the year”, is an important religious event in the Jewish faith, signifying the creation of man.
It marks the beginning of the “days of awe”, devoted to introspection, repentance and atonement for sin.
One of the customs observed is the blowing of a ram’s horn, or shofar, which summons people to the religious services.
The ram’s horn is significant for a number of reasons, one of them being the biblical reference to Abraham, whose faith was tested by God when he asked him to sacrifice his son.
“Abraham took his son up to the mountain and was about to kill him when God said, ‘No, no . . . I was just testing you. You’re on Candid Camera’,” said Rabbi Eli Feldman, of the Yeshiva Centre in Bondi, who spoke to the Courier after a photo shoot last Thursday.
“Abraham sacrificed a ram instead, so when we blow the ram’s horn we remind God of Abraham’s righteousness.
“We want God to be nice to us, so we say, ‘Listen, we might not be so good, but remember out great-great- grandfather Abraham’.
‘’He was a really good guy. So if He can’t give us merit in our own right, we ask him to give us merit in the name of our forefather.”
Another custom observed during the holiday is Tashlich, in which prayers are recited near flowing water.
“That’s symbolic of us throwing our sins into the sea,” Rabbi Feldman said.
The festival of Yom Kippur, the most solemn holiday in the Jewish calendar, begins at sunset on September 27 and marks the end of the “days of awe”.