Five Ways I am Quietly Observing the Jewish New Year

Updated May 6, 2023

I am not Jewish, although it’s been a decade now that I’ve been learning and observing some of the Jewish customs. I find it helps me understand my Bible better, and ultimately God. I learn Hebrew words and share them as fast as I can, fascinated by the word pictures they create and how they make complex ideas, simple. 

It’s with this respect to my brothers and sisters in the Jewish community that I talk about Rosh Hashanah, which is observed this weekend. It means literally the “head of the year” and is the Jewish New Year. Also called the Feast of the Trumpets, it was established by God in Leviticus 23. It is a time of extraordinary forgiveness and atonement. The result of the observation is a renewal, and release of what we’ve been holding onto. It is a time of self-reflection and repentance. Anyone out there ready for a “new year?” Anyone want to put off what’s been holding us down and back and release, launching into what they call the “10 Days of Awe?”

Here are five ways I am quietly observing this Jewish holiday:

1. Journaling all I’ve been forgiven for.

The list is long, and I need to always remember how I am not held accountable for my sins. Jesus died to pay this price. A moment to remember my wrongs and hand them to God (again) seems like a worthy exercise.

2. Think through my grievances.

Am I keeping short accounts with those I am in a relationship? Have I let something build between me and another? Is it tension? A grudge? Unforgiveness? Recognizing what Jesus has done for me, allows me to release what I’ve carried against another. The new year is a time to let it go.

3. Make a meal and savor it.

For Rosh Hashanah, there are special foods and reasons for them. I am going to take my time to make a meal and savor it. Thinking about breaking bread among those I love, with the intention of connection and worship.

4. Make room for God.

This is a day to look back, but also to look ahead – to when Christ returns. Am I ready? Among all my to-do’s and ambitions, is my chief goal to be ready for Him? I am going to look at the next year (or let’s be honest- maybe just the next quarter?!) in detail, and ask myself honestly: have I made enough room for God? Or will He have to disrupt my plans to be made known?

5. Play some music.

There’s a trumpet involved in this holiday, I encourage you to go on a study rabbit trail and read all about it. The shofar, or trumpet-like instrument, signals our attention. He has mine. This year has caused me to stand at attention and be ready for His leading. I am going to play some music, look up and tell Him, whatever it is He’s asking of me, I am already in the agreement with it.

Take this weekend to stop, listen, observe, forgive, receive, and release. What a gift He is giving us in this holiday, enjoy it.

About Author

Beth Guckenberger is the Co-Executive Director of Back2Back Ministries and founder of the Reckless Faith Movement. Beth and Todd have a large family they’ve formed through biological, foster, and adoptive children. She is an author and speaker, sharing her experience as a mother, a missionary, and a student of God’s Word.