VICENZA, Italy - Rosh Hashanah is considered the birthday of the universe in the Jewish faith community and it is celebrated as the head of the Jewish year beginning at sundown on Sept. 20th and continues through night fall on Sept. 22nd.
Chaplain Maj. Andrew Shulman, of the 7th Mission Support Command's 88th Chaplain Detachment, was mobilized from Sept. 14-27 to lead worship services and fellowship events for Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) at Caserma Ederle in Vicenza.
"Jewish tradition speaks of Rosh Hashanah as a time of reckoning in which the world is reordered based on one's deeds of the previous year," said 7th MSC's Chaplain Robert Crawford.
"The righteous move forward while the wicked come under threat and have a few days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (the day of atonement) to put their lives back in order through repentance," he explained.
Rosh Hashanah is also celebrated by lighting candles each evening, eating festive meals with sweet delicacies (expressing the wish for a "sweet year"), attending services in the synagogue, and desisting from daily work activities.
More than 50 traditional kosher meals were served at a number of ceremonies, including the blowing of the "shofar" - the ram's horn - heralding the year 5778 from Creation. In addition, attendees participated in the annual Tashlich - a ritual prescribed for casting off the year's sins into the waters of a nearby stream.
"I think that the theme of examination and repentance are common to all of us in one way or another," Crawford said. "Along with understanding our colleagues who practice the Jewish faith, it is a day that teaches us something about the human condition and how we can live better and take care of one another."