Local synagogues prepare for New Year celebration

For Jewish families this year, September brings not only a new school year and cooler weather, but also the beginning of a new year in the Jewish calendar.

At sundown on Sept. 29, Rosh Hashanah will mark the beginning of the Jewish New Year 5769. The three local synagogues, Temple Emek Shalom, Havurah Shir Hadash and Chabad of Southern Oregon have a variety of services and events planned for the High Holy Days.

Rosh Hashanah, which means "Head of the Year" in Hebrew, is observed for two days. Like all Jewish holidays, it begins at sundown the evening before the first full day of the holiday. Round and sweet foods, such as apples dipped in honey or round challahs baked with raisins are served to symbolize a sweet and cyclical new year. Rosh Hashanah is both a solemn and a happy time for quiet introspection. Jewish people review their past deeds, ask for forgiveness and resolve to do better and be a better person in the upcoming year. On the first full day of Rosh Hashanah it is customary to follow the ritual of Tashlich — going out to a flowing body of water and throwing pebbles into the water, thereby symbolically casting away sins.

Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the Ten Days of Awe and Yom Kippur marks the end. This year Yom Kippur begins on the evening of Oct. 8 with a Kol Nidre service and is considered to be the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. Also known as the Day of Atonement, it is a day of fasting, reflection and prayers.

The three synagogues in Ashland have the following High Holy Days services available. Services are free and open to everyone. Reservations for childcare during the services are available at Temple Emek Shalom and Havurah Shir Hadash.

Schedule of events

Temple Emek Shalom, 1800 East Main St., 488-2909, emekshalom.org

Rosh Hashanah:

Erev Rosh Hashanah

Monday, Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m.

Rosh Hashanah Morning (Day 1)

Tuesday, Sept. 30, 10 a.m.

Tashlich, 3 p.m. at Temple Emek Shalom Creek

Rosh Hashanah Morning (Day 2)

Wednesday, Oct. 1, 10 a.m.

Yom Kippur:

Kol Nidre

Wednesday, Oct. 8, 6:30 p.m.

Yom Kippur

Thursday, Oct. 9, 10 a.m.

Break-the-fast at 7 p.m.

Chabad Jewish Center of Southern Oregon, 804 Hillview Drive,

482-2778 , chabadofashland.org

Rosh Hashanah:

Erev Rosh Hashanah

Monday, Sept. 29, 7 p.m.

Community dinner: 7:30 p.m., RSVP 482-2778

Rosh Hashanah Morning (Day 1)

Tuesday, Sept. 30, 10 a.m.

Tashlich Walk: 5 p.m. - Meet outside the Ashland Public Library and walk together to Lithia Park to the creek near the playground.

Rosh Hashanah Morning (Day 2)

Wednesday, Oct. 1, 10 a.m.

Yom Kippur:

Kol Nidre Services

Wednesday, Oct. 8, 6:30 p.m.

Yom Kippur

Thursday, Oct. 9, 10 a.m.

Break-fast at 7:20 p.m.

Havurah Shir Hadash 185 N. Mountain Ave, 488-7716, havurahshirhadash.org.

Rosh Hashanah:

Erev Rosh Hashanah

Monday, Sept. 29, 7 p.m.

Rosh Hashanah Morning (Day 1)

Tuesday, Sept. 30, 10 a.m.

Family Tashlich Service: 4 p.m. at Cotton Memorial in Lithia Park.

Rosh Hashanah Morning (Day 2)

Wednesday, Oct. 1, 10 a.m.

Yom Kippur:

Kol Nidre Services

Wednesday, Oct. 8, 7 p.m.

Yom Kippur

Thursday, Oct. 9, 10 a.m.

Break Fast Potluck Vegetarian dinner at 6:30 p.m.