By Kathleen Kraemer
On Sept. 15, the Jewish Student Organization of ESU celebrated Rosh Hashanah on the grassy lawn in front of the Hoeffner Science and Technology Center.
Rosh Hashanah is celebrated with the blowing of the shofar, or ram’s horn.
The observance was lead by Rabbi Baruch Melman of the Temple of Israel of the Poconos and his “veteran shofar-blower,” Charlie Cahn.
Rosh Hashanah marks the Jewish New Year. This year, it began at sunset on Sept. 13 and concluded at sunset on Sept. 15.
“Rosh Hashanah marks the birthday of the world and the birthday of humanity, when human beings began to wrestle with questions of morality and mortality,” Rabbi Melman explained.
The shofar is blown as a symbol of peace and love. Rabbi Melman explained the irony of the shofar; it was once attached to a ram as “a means of defense” and is now being used in a call for peace.
There are four notes blown on the shofar: tekiah, shevarim, teruah, and takiah gedolah. The notes are distinctly different and blown in that order.
He said, “We blow the Shofar to remember that God is a God of love. The ram’s horn reminds us of the binding of Isaac. The point of the episode is that God is telling Abraham that if you wish to show your love for God it is wrong to take a human life.”
“It was common for people to sacrifice their children to show their love for God. Abraham’s revolution of ethical monotheism changed all that,” he elaborated.
“The religious fanatics in Iran and ISIS need to hear this message,” said Rabbi Melman, “The pathway to loving God is through loving others–your children and your neighbors and especially the stranger among us, not through killing and abusing people who are different from us.”
Yom Kippur, another major Jewish holiday, will begin on the evening of Sept. 22.
At the event, Rabbi Melman also invited students to join him at the Temple of Isreal of the Poconos. Services are held every Friday at 8 p.m. and every Saturday at 9:30 a.m.
If you are interested in joining the Jewish Students Organization, contact the president, Eve Salzberg, at firstname.lastname@example.org.