The Jewish New Year at Home

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After the meal, one recites the birkat hamazon, the "grace after meals," including all the special additions marking the festival of Rosh Hashanah. Since Rosh Hashanah is a two-day festival, all of the above rituals are repeated the second evening as well, except that there is a tradition among some people to use a different newly ripened fruit of the season, such as pomegranates. This is a popular Rosh Hashanah fruit for several reasons, first because it is mentioned as being one of the native fruits of the land of Israel (see Deuteronomy 8:8), and second, because there is a tradition that there are 613 of the juicy sweet seeds in each fruit, which corresponds to the number of commandments in the Torah. When eating a pomegranate, it is not necessary to dip it in honey since its seeds are sweet enough by themselves.

A festive meal with kiddush over wine and hamotzi over round loaves of raisin bread can also be enjoyed for lunch each day of Rosh Hashanah. At this time of year, one greets one's friends and family with the greeting "Shanah Tovah," which means "(May you enjoy) a good new year." Over the course of the last century or so it has become customary to send family and friends Rosh Hashanah greeting cards.

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