TENAFLY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Jews across the region and around the world marked the New Year at sundown Wednesday with the start of Rosh Hashanah.
As CBS 2’s Emily Smith reported, the high holidays mark a time for repentance and new beginnings.
The sound of the shofar, or rams horn, is heard internationally as Rosh Hashanah services begin.
“Its intention is to really wake us up so that we recognize that it’s time to repent,” Rabbi Jordan Millstein of Temple Sinai in Tenafly, N.J. told Smith.
Torah scrolls are covered in white for the high holiday season.
The traditions extend into the Rosh Hashanah meal.
Matzoh ball soup, a round challah — rather than the typical braided loaf — brisket and gefilte fish will grace many holiday tables, along with apples and honey to symbolically usher in a sweet and healthful year.
LONG ISLAND BEEFS UP SECURITY FOR HIGH HOLIDAYS
As WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reported, there will be beefed up police patrols around synagogues across Long Island.
There is always higher security at Jewish houses of worship over the high holidays, but tensions in the Middle East are adding to the need for boosted security this year, Xirinachs reported.
“We do intend to increase patrols with both uniformed and plain-clothes, giving special attention around synagogues, schools and other religious institutions,” Nassau Police Commissioner Thomas Dale said.
Nassau County authorities are urging people to be extra vigilant over the next 10 days.
“If you see an unattended package at or around a temple or really anywhere in the neighborhood, we urge you to call 911,” Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said.
Officials said there is no specific threat but rather the stepped up effort is all about prevention and safety.
“If you see something, say something,” said Mangano.
Other local governments also have been maintaining extra vigilance.
The NYPD has also stepped up patrols at synagogues across the city for the high holidays in response to the tensions in Egypt and Syria, though Commissioner Ray Kelly said there is no specific threat.
“Let me say that we’re always looking over the horizon. We are aware of conditions throughout the world, we have a large police force and we’re always looking at contingencies, things that may happen,” Kelly said last week. “I can only tell you that we will respond, in our judgment, accordingly if something happens overseas. We’ve always been concerned about what happens throughout the world – it’s become much smaller after 9/11. That’s why we have our own officers stationed overseas, so they have their ear to the ground.’
As is always the case, there will be a heightened police presence at Jewish houses of worship over the high holidays and the heavily armed Hercules teams will be ready if needed, Kelly said.
As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported last weekend, the Morris County, N.J. Office of Emergency Management has been keeping a watchful eye on the crisis in Syria.
The high holidays continue through Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, which begins next Friday night.
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