“According to our tradition, at Rosh Hashanah our fate for the coming year is inscribed in the Book of Life,” said Mindy Engle-Friedman, president of the Flemington Jewish Community Center. “Then, 10 days later, at Yom Kippur, the book is sealed. As a result, this is a time of year when we need to consider how we have been running our lives, ask forgiveness from those whom we have wronged and let go of grudges.”
Although Rosh Hashanah is a celebration — apples are served with honey to symbolize sweetening the new year — it is also a serious religious holiday. Services are marked by prayer, song and blowing the shofar (ram’s horn) to welcome in the New Year, 5778.
“We use this time to contemplate our successes and failures.” said FJCC Rabbi Eric Cohen. “Can we practice gratitude in spite of personal achievement? Can we keep a proper perspective in the face of failure?”
Yom Kippur is more solemn, with fasting and introspective prayer. Jews ask to be forgiven for any sin committed the past year, in a service that combines English and Hebrew. “Fasting may seem like a great burden,” Engle-Friedman said. “But it frees you from what’s a major distraction on other days. It also gives you an appreciation for what the hungry people of the world experience much of the time.”
The FJCC will have Rosh Hashanah services on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 6:30 p.m., and Thursday, Sept. 21, and Friday, Sept. 22, at 8:30 a.m. The shofar will be blown on both days of Rosh Hashanah at 10:30 a.m. On the 21st, there will be babysitting available 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for children under 5 and Junior Congregation for other children at the same times. Yom Kippur services will be 6:00–8:00 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 29 (with babysitting available), and on Saturday, Sept. 23, from 8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. and then resume from 4:30 p.m. to sundown, with babysitting and Junior Congregation from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The entire community is also invited to “Break the Fast” at the end of Yom Kippur on Sept. 30 at the conclusion of evening services. The suggested contribution for this is $10 per person.
The FJCC welcomes all members of the community to celebrate the holidays, regardless of membership. For more information on services and for tickets, call 908-782-6410, ext. 10. The FJCC is at 5 Sergeantsville Road, just south of Route 12 in Raritan Township.