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Blowing in the new year

Maddie Weiss ‘25

Sep 29, 2023

In the fall, two important Jewish holidays are celebrated, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. 

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year.  This year Rosh Hashanah was celebrated from Friday, September 15 to Sunday, September 17. 

The Book of Life is opened for ten days, called the Days of Awe, beginning with the blowing of the shofar. This time is dedicated to atoning for the past year's sins. These days are often spent at the synagogue with family. 

Yom Kippur, the day of repentance, happens 10 days later. It is considered the holiest day of the year. The day includes fasting to cleanse the body and attending services at the synagogue to reconcile with God. At the end of the day, the shofar is blown once more, and the Book of Life is closed for another year.

Here at Mercersburg Academy, teachers and students alike celebrated. 

According to Max Friedman ’25, “On Friday, [school chaplain] Reverend [Will] Whitmore generously drove us Jews to the nearest synagogue in Chambersburg, and I was lucky enough to be able to go home Saturday and spend the day with my family." 

On Sunday evening, September 25 and Monday, September 26 services were held for Yom Kippur, where, after the final blowing of the shofar, Jewish students and faculty enjoyed a feast to break the fast begun at sundown the previous night. 

Many faith traditions help to form the fabric of the school, and holidays are celebrated as a community where the faithful, as well as those interested in learning and sharing, connect with faith and culture, even during the busy school year. 

Jewish Club advisor Jessica Doubell noted that, aside from blowing the shofar, her favorite part about the holiday is “spending time with my family for the celebration.”

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