Gants Hill rabbi reflects on New Year celebrations

PUBLISHED: 13:47 04 October 2016 | UPDATED: 13:59 04 October 2016

Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin

Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin


This time of year sees those of the Jewish faith look inwards and contemplate their achievements of the past 12 months.

Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin, of Chabad Lubavitch synagogue, Woodford Avenue, Gants Hill, said Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is all about reflection and celebration.

The festival, which was observed between Sunday and Tuesday, commemorates the creation of the world.

The two-day holiday falls on different days each year because the Hebrew calendar determines the date.

Rabbi Sufrin said people should see it as time to look back on their actions over the past 12 months.

“At this time, it’s really a reflection of where we are, what we have done and what we would like to be doing,” he told the Recorder.

“And if you haven’t achieved the things that you would like to, well, there’s another year to do it.”

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

On Monday, worshippers will join Rabbi Sufrin at Valentines Park, Cranbrook Road, Ilford, to float bread in a river as part of a Jewish tradition called Tashlich.

“Water is the symbol of life,” he said.

“Before there were roads, rivers brought life up and down the country, bringing food and commerce.

“Tashlich means throwing away, and it symbolises throwing away your sins.”

As well as eating apples and honey – a symbol of the sweet new year it is hoped lies ahead – challah bread is baked in a round loaf to represent the circle of life.

It’s also a time to reflect on your good fortune, said Rabbi Sufrin.

“This holiday allows us to consider what we have, and what we can do not only to help ourselves, but to help others.”

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