Shofar, Sho Good

September 30, 2011

My mom is clever too. She came up with that one.

I ate one of my eggs! I’m not sure why that deserves an announcement, but that was pretty much the most exciting thing that happened yesterday, so deal. Also exciting was finding a decent parking spot at school, realizing that my dirty hair holds a curl quite well, and discovering that Target has Honeycrisp apples again! It’s a nonstop party in my world, you guys.

OK, before we move on to the serious stuff, I think you should just look at this picture right quick.

Anyway, Happy New Year! The Jewish new year of Rosh Hashanah  is not like the American one. There is no drinking or kissing or wearing weird hats. They save that for Purim.

God commanded the people of God to remember on Rosh HaShanah. Remember what He had done — the promises to Abraham, the Exodus, the mighty miracles in the desert. It is a time of remembrance, and it also starts the serious reflection time during the Days of Awe that lead up to The Day of Atonement ten days from now.

I went to a Rosh Hashanah service at Yeshuat Tsion last night. Yeshuat Tsion (the salvation of Zion) is a messianic congregation — Jews who have accepted Jesus as their Messiah. They started the service with about a half hour of praise and worship. Some of the songs were in English, and others were in Hebrew. There were women dancing at the front while playing tambourines and a guy blowing a shofar. I was surprised at how active people were in the worship — I’m mostly used to churches where people stand properly in their pews, clapping only when prompted by the worship pastor (if then). A tambourine that has no place in worship! But then I remembered that God invites this kind of active praise. The word for “rejoice” in the Bible is “nagila” — literally to twirl and dance in praise of God. This is the Jewish way, this is the way of the people of God. We might do well to praise the Lord with their same passion.

They blew the shofar during the service, as God commanded. There are short staccato blasts and long mournful ones. I picture a man in robes at the foot of Mt. Sinai, blowing the shofar, calling all of Israel to remember the plagues, the crossing of the Red Sea, the pillar of blazing fire that warmed them by night.

Part of the tradition of Rosh HaShanah is to wear white as a sign of the new year. I wore a white sweater to fit in. It definitely worked;  I’m sure no one noticed the black girl in the back.

You also get apples (Honeycrisp!) and dip them in honey — the sweetness on your tongue makes you hopeful to God for a sweet new year.

It says "very active" yeast. I'm afraid of it.

You also dip challah bread in honey during Rosh HaShanah. I’m going to attempt to make it tomorrow. That is probably illegal because you’re not supposed to work on this holiday, but in between watching Up All Night, trying not to get salsa on my white sweater, and attending all kinds of Jewish services, I didn’t have time to make the bread. Especially because it requires lots of rising and kneading and more rising and other things that scare me. If it turns out, I think it’ll be really good. It seems really simple to make — it’s mostly flour and honey. Also, the recipe said poppy seeds were optional, and I’m totally adding them. I prefer to be unable to pass a drug test whilst celebrating my Jewish holidays.

Many people start preparing for atonement at Rosh Hoshanah. They pray and reflect and hope that God will write their names in the Book of Life. The rabbi at Yeshuat Tsion reminded us that we are grateful to God that Jesus came and died as our atonement — once and for all. We don’t have to convince God, year after year, that we’ll be good enough or right enough because he has made us righteousness when we had none. Blessed be he.

OK, have a good times all around fun weekend, friends. I’ll be back soon, probably with a picture of some sad-looking, burned challah bread.


5 Responses to “Shofar, Sho Good”

  1. said

    Maybe you should have taken a hint from the title of the show you were busy watching (Up All Night) and made your bread on the correct day, huh?

    Can’t wait to see pics of the bread, if the yeast doesn’t eat you alive first.

  2. Jaci said

    I would like some challah bread please. You can overnight ship it to get here for my breakfast on Saturday.

  3. Kim said

    you somehow forgot to add your webchat with me to your list of happy things from yesterday!??!!

  4. Kristy said

    Up All Night is amaaaazing.

  5. denisemorris said

    Becca: I definitely should have done that. But there’s rising for like 2 hours! And you have to punch the dough. I’m scared.

    Jaci: Should be deliciously moldy by the time it arrives.

    Kim: I did forget to put that in!! That really was the highlight. Who doesn’t love watching you eat chicken?!

    Kristy: So funny. I think I’ve liked the second episode the best so far. The Train/Ironic thing killed me.

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