From Where We Are

Students celebrate Rosh Hashanah, kick off High Holiday season

Students celebrate the Jewish New Year by attending services at Hillel, baking challah and enjoying apples and honey.

L’Shana Tova!

Sunday marked the first day of Rosh Hashanah – the start of the Jewish New Year.

For many, this holy Jewish day is marked with attending synagogue services, eating festive foods and blowing a traditional horn called the shofar. Annenberg radio reporters took a closer look at campus celebrations.

Rosh Hashanah is considered to be among the holiest days in the Jewish religion and celebrations are well underway on the USC campus.

The festivities mark the start of the Jewish high holy days and symbolize the creation of the world. It’s also the start of a ten-day reflection period for Jewish people around the months of September and October.

One of the most iconic traditions of this holiday is the blowing of the shofar – a musical horn typically made from the horn of a ram – it represents joy, hope and trust for the future.

USC Hillel gathered students around Tommy Trojan this afternoon to kick off the ancient tradition.

Another popular custom of Rosh Hashanah involves eating apple slices dipped in honey. Ancient Jews believed apples contained healing properties and would ensure sweetness into the new year, a tradition that continues to this day.

USC graduate student Henry Cohen shares his experience with the holiday.

HENRY COHEN: So I come to Hillel every time I go to Rosh Hashanah, the services, Yom Kippur services in a few days. And we have apples and honey at home with all my housemates and stuff. So yeah, and I baked challah the other day for the first time. So that was cool.

Even with long classes and busy schedules, students like Rafi Colton-Max have been finding ways to still celebrate and create meaningful moments while they are away from home.

RAFI COLTON-MAX: Yeah, it’s really nice. I’m here with my friends. We’re all getting food and it’s a nice break from classes. And then just to go back to the real world, but like to have that minute away with like people that are family is nice.

Events kicked off yesterday but will continue until October 5th. They include: religious services, candle lightings, food gatherings and much more.

You can check out the USC Hillel or Chabad websites for more information on events.