Rosh Hashanah: An Annual Wake-up Call


Three weeks into school, and the playground is buzzing. Most of what I’m seeing is good, old-fashioned fun–football, tetherball, jungle gyms, jump rope. Inevitably, though, the fun often brings with it some cries of “cheater,” “no fair!” and “She’s being mean to me.” (The corollary to the last one is always, “No! She’s being mean to ME!”).

It’s a rare, wise child who will consider what they’ve possibly done to offend the other one and apologize first. When that happens, the second one nearly every time will quickly ‘fess up to what they did also, and the two run off together to play as friends. Today, alas, was one of those days when neither child in such a predicament would admit to doing anything at all wrong, and the two girls stomped off in two different directions. Sigh.

When I heard a baseball announcer tonight wishing the audience’s Jewish friends a Happy New Year, it made me realize that it was once again time for Rosh Hashanah–a time of year that becomes important to the main characters in my upcoming children’s novel, Bon Voyage, Sophie Topfeather! As far as I understand it, it’s a time of year for the Jewish community to “‘fess up” to ways that they have offended others and try to make amends–not with any guarantee of restoring a severed relationship, but simply because it’s the right and healthy and godly thing to do.

Sophie and Timley literally wake up to the sound of a shofar, a ram’s horn, one morning. They’ve been sheltering from the rain in a synagogue, and the alarming sound is the first thing that alerts them to the fact that maybe they can right the wrongs that they’ve done–and they’ve both done plenty!

Click on the link below for a great description from a New York rabbi on what Rosh Hashanah means to the Jewish community:

Jesus himself was a Jew, and doesn’t want anyone to live with their guilt and shame:

“This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46-47).

About Sonja Anderson

I write novels and short stories for children, and occasionally a book or article for adults, too. I grew up in Ohio, and I have lived in Chicago, Connecticut, Boston, Tokyo, and Seattle. The beautiful Pacific Northwest inspires me every day.
This entry was posted in Being a Good Neighbor, Being Wise, Diversity, Faith, Loving our Neighbors, New Years, School and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Rosh Hashanah: An Annual Wake-up Call

  1. Remson, Kathryn V says:

    I love Rosh Hashanah and the focus on making amends, atonement. I used to attend services with my Jewish friends for some of the High Holidays in LA. These deepened my own faith, and I felt lifted by the music. I’m no Cantor, but can carry my own in a good Baruch’a because of these experiences. ~ Kit ________________________________________


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