Ready for the High Holidays? It’s unreal how quickly summer goes by. Almost as soon as it starts, it ends, which for Jewish communities means, getting ready for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Interestingly, the summer months are not really times of relaxation in the Jewish Calendar. In the middle of Tamuz a three week period of mourning and grief begins in preparation for the fast of Av. Afterwards is the month Elul, a time meant for contemplation and reflection in anticipation of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The Shofar, which is used on Rosh Hashanah, is symbolic of this reflection and of repentance. As Maimonides writes, it is meant to remind people to consider the direction their lives are taking, to think about the goals they want to achieve. “Wake up, wake up, [you] sleepers from your sleep, and awake [you] slumberers from your slumber,” (Maimonides).
L: Shofar Altona (?), 1731 horn: engraved, The Max Stern Collection Yeshiva University Museum
C: Rosh Hashanah postcard produced in Austria by Raphael Tuck & Sons, ca. 1915, Collection of Yeshiva University Museum
R: Detail from Rosh Hashanah by Arthur Szyk (1894-1951) Tempera and ink on paper New Canaan, 1948, Collection of Yeshiva University Museum Gift of Charles Frost