L’shana Tova!

Happy New Year!

September 14, 1882 (1st of Tishrei, 5643): Rosh Hashanah – The following poem by Emma Lazarus entitled “Rosh Hashanah 1882” captured her feelings about the day:

“The New Year”

Rosh Hashanah, 5643

Now while the snow-shroud round

dead earth is rolled,

And naked branches point to frozen skies, —

When orchards burn their lamps of fiery gold,

The grape glows like a jewel, and the corn

A sea of beauty and abundance lies,

Then the New Year is born.

Look where the mother of the months uplifts

In the green clearness of the unsunned West,

Her ivory horn of plenty, dropping gifts,

Cool, harvest-feeding dews,

fine-winnowed light;

Tired labor with fruition, joy and rest

Profusely to requite.

Blow, Israel, the sacred coronet! Call

Back to thy courts whatever faint heart throb

With thine ancestral blood, thy need craves all.

The red, dark year is dead, the year just born

Leads on from anguish wrought

by priest and mob,

To what undreamed-of morn?

For never yet, since on the holy height,

The Temple’s marble walls of white and green

Carved like the sea-waves, fell, and the world’s light

Went out in darkness, — never was the year

Greater with potent and with promise seen,

Than this eve now and here.

Even as the Prophet promised, so your tent

Hath been enlarged unto earth’s farthest rim.

To snow-capped Sierras from vast steppes ye went,

Through fire and blood and

tempest-tossing wave,

Mighty to slay and save.

High above flood and fire ye held the scroll,

Out of the depths ye published still the Word.

No bodily pang had power to swerve your soul:

Ye, in a cynic age of crumbling faiths,

Lived to bear witness to the living Lord,

Or died a thousand deaths.

In two divided streams the exiles part,

One rolling homeward to its ancient source,

One rushing sunward with fresh will, new heart.

By each truth is spread, the law unfurled,

Each separate soul contains the nation’s force,

And both embrace the world.

Kindle the silver candle’s seven rays,

Offer the first fruits of the

clustered bowers,

The garnered spoil of bees. With prayer and praise

Rejoice that once more tried, once more we prove

How strength of supreme suffering still is ours.

For Truth and Law and Love.

This stamp celebrating Rosh Hashanah was issued by Israel Post in 2012.  It depicts the traditional tashlich service – the casting of bread crumbs into a body of water to signify the casting away of our sins.

rosh hashanah israel


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