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About Rosh Hashanah and Yom KippurShare

New Year Greeting

New Year Greeting

Attributed to Happy Jack (born Angokwazhuk) (Inupiaq, b. Alaska, c. 1870-1918)
Nome, Alaska, United States, 1910
  • Walrus tusk: engraved; gold inset
  • Height: 10 in. (25.4 cm) Diameter: 1 in. (2.5 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Gift of the Kanofsky Family in memory of Minnie Kanofsky, 1984-71
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New Year Greeting

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Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are often referred to as the High Holy Days. In many ways, these festivals and the intervening period (known as the Ten Days of Repentance) represent the pinnacle of sanctity in the Jewish year. The mood of the Jewish New Year is serious. It is an opportunity not just to wish each other a Happy New Year (Shanah Tova in Hebrew) but also to look back at the year past, to consider mistakes and missteps, and to ask forgiveness for personal transgressions. According to the High Holiday liturgy, there are three ways to improve one's lot for the coming year: repentance, prayer, and tzedakah (acts of charity or righteousness).