Rosh Hashana in the Synagogue
In the minds of many people Rosh Hashana (and Yom Kippur) means spending a lot ot time in the synagogue. This is a reasonable conclusion given the many elaborate prayers and poems that are part of the liturgy. Even the name of the prayer book is different. Instead of a siddur, we use a Mahzor...
Welcoming the Holiday
The Torah portion Nitzavim is always read on the Shabbat before Rosh Hashana. The opening two verses read:
You are standing today, all of you, before God, your God, - your heads, your tribes, your elders and your officers; all the men of Israel. Your children, your women and he who has entered into the midst of your camps from your woodcutter, to your water drawer...
Rosh Hashana at Home
On the Shabbat before any new month, a special prayer is recited called Birkat Ha-Chodesh. This prayer announces the new month and the day of the week on which it will fall. However, this is not done on the Shabbat before Rosh Hashana. The reason seems to be that since everyone knew when Rosh Hashana was beginning, it was deemed unnecessary to announce it...
Tashlich, which means "cast off" in Hebrew, is a ritual performed on the first day of Rosh Hashana. If Rosh Hashana falls on Shabbat, the custom is postponed to Sunday.
Tashlich, which can be performed individually or as a group, is observed at a large, natural body of flowing water (e.g., river, lake, sea, or ocean). During the Tashlikh ceremony, the worshipers symbolically throw their sins away. Battery Park Synagogue members have traditionally performed this rite at the North Cove Marina overlooking the Hudson River and in the distance to the south, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.