Jews across the county are preparing to celebrate their two holiest days, Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) nextweek.
"Tradition holds that (at Rosh Hashanah), you are asking tobe inscribed into the Book of Life," said Jamie Wehler, president ofthe Reform B'nai Israel Reform Congregation in Westminster. "You usethe 10-day interval (before Yom Kippur) to get yourself in order, square wrongs you've committed and patch up disagreements.
"Then at Yom Kippur, your fate for the year is sealed in the Bookof Life."
Although Rosh Hashanah is a celebration -- apples are served with honey to symbolize sweetening the new year -- it is also aserious religious holiday.
Services are marked by prayer, song and blowing the shofar (ram's horn) to welcome in the new year, 5752.
"It's not like the new years of other faiths," said Philip Leder, amember of the Conservative Beth Shalom Congregation in Winfield. "It's more about reflecting on the previous year and looking ahead for what you plan for the new year."
Yom Kippur is more solemn, with fasting and introspective prayer. It is the one time Jews may ask to beforgiven for any sin committed the past year.
On both holidays, the congregation participates in the prayers in both English and Hebrew.
"It's a time when you really go into who you are and what you are supposed to be doing," Wehler said. "If you are praying and not just reading the words, you really have to reach inside."
B'nai Israel is inactive now, so members are celebrating at other synagogues, Wehler said.
Members of Beth Shalom congregation will meet 7:30 Sunday and Monday evenings and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday and Tuesday to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, Leder said. Yom Kippur services will be 6:30 to 9 p.m. Sept. 17 and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to sundown Sept. 18.
Tickets for members are $40 for adults older than 18, $25 for students and young adults age 13 to 18, $30 for senior citizens, $5 for children age 6 to 12 and no charge for children younger than 6.
Non-members pay $75 for adults older than 18, $45 for students and young adults age 13 to 18 and $55 for senior citizens. Children's prices are the same as for members.
For information on services, call 875-2800 or 922-2987.