Temira Puchinsky said she would eat healthier. Hannah Cooper plans to stop fighting with her brother. And Gaites Klein plans to start doing his homework.
The children of Club J at the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center in Scottsdale spent Thursday afternoon learning about Rosh Hashanah. The holiday, which begins at sundown today, marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year and the start of the High Holy Days. Today, year 5767 begins.
The new year’s start gives people a chance to cast off bad habits and make goals.
“You have peace,” said 7-year-old Temira. “You can start a fresh new year without any problems. It’s a better chance to act well.”
Club J is an after-school program provided for children in kindergarten through fifth grade who come from all denominations to the center, 12701 N. Scottsdale Road.
According to a guide published by the center, Jews believe there is a book of life in heaven that marks everyone’s thoughts, words and deeds during the year. On Rosh Hashanah, the book is opened and good and bad deeds are examined. On Yom Kippur, a holiday devoted to repentance and forgiveness, the book is closed.
Yom Kippur falls on Oct. 1 this year. The days between the holidays are meant for people to apologize and ask forgiveness from those they have wronged.
Rosh Hashanah is celebrated with annual symbolic traditions. On Thursday, the children ate apples and honey to start a year that is good and sweet. They also ate round challah bread to represent a continuing cycle of years.
Eight-year-old Hannah said her synagogue sponsors an annual Tashlich, or symbolically casting off of sins.
“We go to the canal and throw bread into the water,” she said. “It’s throwing away all one of your sins.”
She was one of many children in line to blow the shofar, another holiday tradition. Blowing into a shofar, a ram’s horn, marks great moments and war time in the Bible.
Gaites, 10, said he practices on his shofar all year for another reason.
“I want to be obnoxious,” he said.