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Rosh Hashanah A Time Of Celebration And Reflection For Jewish Families

Rosh Hashanah celebrations at a synagogue on East 81st Street. (credit: CBS 2)

Rosh Hashanah celebrations at a synagogue on East 81st Street. (credit: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Jews around the world are celebrating Rosh Hashanah — the start of a brand new year on the Jewish calendar. The holiday began at sundown on Sunday night.

Like any new year festivity, Rosh Hashanah is a time of celebration, but also a period of deep reflection and synagogues are filled.

“This is a lot more about reflection and rebirth, so its a very different new year,” one person told CBS 2’s Emily Smith.

As millions of Jewish families reflect and contemplate any past mistakes, Rabbi Perry Berkowitz explained it’s also a time to make things right.

“We’ve been given another year of life and we celebrate that,” he said.

There’s another aspect to the holiday — the food. More specifically, food with meaning, like round challah bread to symbolize a perfect new year.

The round shape also represents the circle of life. Fish is an ancient symbol of fertility and abundance. The sugary items serve as a prayer to God for a sweet year ahead.

At Katz’s deli on the Lower East Side, the holiday spirit was evident with lots of traditional goodies, including potato pancakes, brisket and gravy, challah bread and chopped lived and onion.

Fourth generation owner Alan Dell pointed out all of the celebrating during Rosh Hashanah slows down at Yom Kippur. Together, they’re the two holiest days on the Jewish calendar.

“Next week it’s Yom Kippur, which is a very solemn holiday — that’s the day God decides who’s going to live who’s not,” Dell said.

But this day is about a new beginning and appropriate time to wish a happy new year.

City schools were closed Monday and will be again Tuesday for the holiday.