Please note – in this document the name of the Divine/Creator is referred to as ‘G-d’ with a letter replaced with a dash as under Jewish Law it is impermissible to destroy their name (for example if this document was printed and later shredded or disposed of).
What is Rosh Hashanah?
The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, is one of the holiest days in Judaism. The day begins on the first of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, and means “head of the year” or “first of the year.”
The day commemorates and celebrates the creation of the world and is extremely important to the Jewish community.
Whilst in the Gregorian calendar we are in the year 2022, in the Hebrew Calendar we are in the year 5782 and Rosh Hashanah this year will move the calendar into the year 5783.
Rosh Hashanah is seen as a time to reflect on the past and review relationships with G-d, rather than just celebrating the future and the coming year.
When is Rosh Hashanah?
Rosh Hashanah 2022 begins on the evening of September 25th and ends on the evening of September 27th for most Jewish communities outside of Israel.
Jews living in Israel celebrate festivals for a shorter period of time so celebrate Rosh Hashanah from the evening of September 25th to the evening of September 26th.
Liberal Jewish communities in the UK are likely to follow the Israeli custom and celebrate shorter festivals.
Because it is based on the Hebrew Calendar, the date can change from year to year. It is, however, usually in September or October.
A brief history of Rosh Hashanah
The Torah is a founding religious text in Judaism. The Torah does not mention Rosh Hashanah, but it does mention a sacred occasion that begins around Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah is first mentioned in the Mishnah, a Jewish legal code.
Rosh Hashanah is the first day of the Days of Awe, also known as the Days of Repentance. This period is critical because it is thought to have the ability to influence G-d’s judgement.
The Days of Awe end after the festival of Yom Kippur which takes place ten days after Rosh Hashanah and involves a 25-hour fast.
The holiday has been observed for thousands of years, but it is difficult to pinpoint when it began.
How to celebrate Rosh Hashanah in the workplace
As previously stated, Rosh Hashanah is a very sacred holiday in Judaism, so workplace celebrations should be planned carefully and not be tokenistic.
Here are a few ways to show your support for Jewish employees in the run-up to Rosh Hashanah:
Share Rosh Hashanah facts
Share facts and raise awareness about Rosh Hashanah. People can learn new things this way, and you can show your support.
Focus on Rosh Hashanah pronunciation
Concentrate and practise Rosh Hashanah’s pronunciation with your team. It’s a very important event for the Jewish community, so it’s important to get the pronunciation right.
Click here for a video to help with your pronunciation.
Here is the phonetic version of pronunciation:
Rosh · ha · sha · naa
Explore symbolic food around Rosh Hashanah
It is traditional to eat sweet foods for Rosh Hashanah to encourage a sweet new year.
Some of the symbolic foods of Rosh Hashanah include apples and honey, date and honey cake and pomegranate.
Consider researching Rosh Hashanah recipes for your team to try during a lunch break, or ask your coworkers to make some traditional Rosh Hashanah recipes at home.
This would be a great opportunity to try new things while learning about their significance.
You may also want to consider ordering traditional Rosh Hashanah foods from a local Kosher shop or online Kosher supplier.
If your Jewish colleagues are comfortable, you could ask them for assistance in preparing food as well as information on its significance.
Have a level of flexibility for your Jewish colleagues
Rosh Hashanah is a religious holiday, and Jewish colleagues will require time off and may wish to adjust their working hours to prepare.
The amount of time off required and levels of observance are different for everyone.
Maintain a level of flexibility and understanding for your coworkers, as well as support them during this time.
Be prepared how to wish someone a happy Rosh Hashanah
It is a good idea to learn more about Jewish culture and how to properly greet someone on Rosh Hashanah. Here are a few ways to send your best wishes:
- Shana Tovah | Pronounced – Shah · Nah · Toe · Vah | Translation – Good year
- L’shana Tovah u’metukah | Pronounced – I’shah · Nah · Toe · Vah · Oo · Meh · Too · Kah | Translation – For a good and sweet year
- Chag Sameach | Pronounced – Hag · Sah · May · Ach | Translation – Happy holiday
Be open to learning
Give your Jewish colleagues a platform to use during this time if they wish, but be aware that they may not feel comfortable doing so.
Consider expert training to help employees learn about religion at work, and ensure that your team is prepared to support employees of various religions.
How Inclusive Employers can help
Our expert consultants at Inclusive Employers are ready to assist you in supporting your colleagues and sharing knowledge during Rosh Hashanah. Get in touch with us today to learn more.
Finally, from everyone at Inclusive Employers, we wish you a happy Rosh Hashanah!