Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot: A Woodford Green Rabbi’s guide

PUBLISHED: 14:23 04 September 2018 | UPDATED: 14:40 04 September 2018

three faiths forum  - Rabbi Hulbert

three faiths forum - Rabbi Hulbert


Jewish residents across the borough are set to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot this month.

Rabbi David Hulbert, of the East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue, told the Recorder that Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year – is a festival of repentance and forgiveness.

“People try to make resolutions to become better people,” he said.

“You recognise your failures and apologise to people you have offended and they get to forgive you.”

He added: “It unites Jews in Redbridge and all around the world.”

The festival – which begins at sunset on Sunday, September 9 and ends on Tuesday, September 11 – commemorates the creation of the world.

Jews believe it’s also when God rates a person’s good deeds against their bad deeds and decides what the next year will be like for them.

Rabbi Hulbert said that members of his congregation will mark the event by changing the covering – known as the mantle – of the synagogue’s Torah scrolls, which are more than 70 years old and originate from the former Czechoslovakia.

“The scrolls will be brought from outside and will be placed in the ark,” he explained.

Ten days after Rosh Hashanah is Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement – the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

The period between these festivals is known as the “high holidays”.

Adults mark the day by wearing white and fasting for 25 hours, including abstention from sex and bathing and wearing perfume or make-up.

“We mark the end of the day by blowing a loud blast from a primitive ram’s horn,” said Rabbi Hulbert, referring to the shofar horn.

And then on September 23, Jews will “enjoy the autumn, the fruit and the wine” as they commemorate the festival of Sukkot.

“Families build a hut using any natural materials – the roof has to be made from leaves,” he said.

This hut – known as a sukkah – harks back to the makeshift dwellings lived in by Israelites during their journey to the promised land in the book of Exodus.

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