On Ramadan And The Day Of Shofar (Rosh Hashana)
Today at sundown marks the beginning of two important holidays, Ramadan – The Muslim Holy month of fasting – and The Day of Shofar, also known as Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. This is the third year in a row that both holidays coincide on the same day. Although both religions follow the lunar calendar, this occurrence is rare since they observe variations in their calendar.
In Islamic Mosques all over the world, Muslims are called to devote the month for reflection, personal renewal, forgiveness, generosity and introspection. Ramadan is one of the five major tenants of Islam and can only begin when the new moon is sighted by special committees. Since there are different committees around the world, Muslim leaders disagree on their response leading to Muslims beginning the holy month on different days, in this case, Thursday. The month is characterized by daylight fasting, no drinking of water or sexual activity. After sunset, each day is ended with prayer and a complete meal.
The Day Of Shofar will usher in the year 5768 on the Jewish Calendar. It begins at sundown on Wednesday night. The two-day holiday begins the start of penitence leading to Yom Kippur also known as the Day Of Atonement – a day of reflection of one’s actions. It is the holiest of days in the Jewish calender with Jews fasting, attending synagogue and seeking forgiveness for past transgressions and resolve not to repeat past mistakes.
“With Ramadan and Rosh Hashanah falling around the same time this year, Muslims, Jews and other Americans will have an opportunity once again to involve themselves in spiritual reflection and renewal and learn about each other’s faith and traditions,” said Hussam Ayloush, executive director for the Greater Los Angeles Area of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Rabbi Jim Kaufman of Temple Beth Hillel in Valley Village echoed that sentiment, telling the Daily News: “This is an opportunity for moderate-thinking Jews and moderate-thinking Muslims to celebrate their respective faiths and respect the paths of God that others have chosen.”