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Rosh Hashana - Celebrating a New Year in September

שָׁנָה טוֹבָה!


L’shanah tovah! Happy New Year to all. May it be filled with sweetness!

As I continue to embark on this journey with Jesus, it has been important for me to understand His beliefs, including the Jewish celebrations He participated in.


Since coming back to Christ, I’ve had many questions run through my mind. One that keeps probing me is why those who follow Jesus don’t also celebrate the traditions and holidays he honored when He was alive?


I truly believe Jesus wanted us to believe in Him to be the Messiah as described in The Old Testament, but I don’t think he desired to have a religion made around Him. Humans naturally worship and idolize, so of course a religion naturally formed from His divine teachings. I appreciate humans’ capacity to create so much from so little, even if the “little” is huge. I am also grateful because there is a community of those who follow His teachings where we can learn together and support one another.


I have decided to experience Jewish holidays this year and fully read the Old and New Testaments to help deepen my understanding of my faith. I desire to understand Jesus, how He lived, and how He worshiped. To me, it’s not just His teachings we are meant to follow but also His actions. In addition to learning about His beliefs, I am also learning Hebrew. (Apparently, I’m either all in or not.)


This past Saturday, I went to a local Messianic Jewish Temple to celebrate the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana. I have never met a more joyful group of human beings on fire for Jesus’ love. Seriously! The Davidic dancing, the singing, the scriptural teachings (Old and New Testament) were so heartfelt. My favorite part was how genuinely excited people were, welcoming everyone regardless of religious background... I didn’t feel like a stranger, it honestly felt like I was being welcomed back home after some time away.


(Blowing the Shofar, Ram's Horn. A tradition during Rosh Hashana.)


I have never been to a Synagogue before, and I understand that the Messianic teachings differ from the more traditional Jewish beliefs. Still, I LOVED the entire service, conversations, and food! I also realize that Rosh Hashana is a High Holy holiday, so this service differs from the weekly Shabbat service. I’m excited to experience that after the holidays pass. I had tears in my eyes on and off throughout the service and felt closer to my ancestors than ever before. (Yes, even stronger than when I used to honor my ancestors in other forms of ceremony.)


 

Messianic Judaism: Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews) who practice Jewish beliefs and teachings and believe that Jesus (Yeshua) is the Messiah, as described in the Old Testament prophecies.


 

My great-grandfather was Jewish, and my mother has always loved the culture and food. Genetically, I have Ashkenazi Jew and have had Jewish friends for many years who even invited me to participate in Passover one year. My curiosity has always been there, but Jesus piqued my interest and gave me the nudge to finally explore.


So this year, I’m learning and celebrating these traditions and feel they will likely be a permanent part of my life. As a follower of Christ, why shouldn’t I celebrate what Jesus celebrated when He was alive? It brings us closer together and helps me honor Him and my ancestors.


A few people have asked me if I’ll convert to Judaism or Christianity. Even though I am actively involved in a Church, attend Shabbat services, and feel the call to be Baptised, I currently don’t see myself choosing one religion or another. The community and teachings are blessings and help me on my journey in life. I’m gaining so much from both, similar to my exploration of other religions before committing to Christ. What matters the most to me is my personal relationship with God and how I give back to the world. How I do that is through where He leads me. And I am thoroughly enjoying this new adventure! It’s truly an honor to share these experiences with those happy to join me. I am grateful for you!


I look forward to the Yom Kippur services this weekend to celebrate and honor the sealing The Book of Life.



L’Shanah Tovah! A good new year to all. May this year be filled with sweetness and so many blessings! 🙏🏻


💖 Rachel


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