The small Jewish community in Madera – estimated at less than 50 people – will observe Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, today at sunset.
The holiday, observed during the first two days of the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, will end Friday at sunset.
“Rosh Hashanah represents the time when Adam, the first man, was created after the six days and nights that God created the universe,” said Dr. David Kaye, a Jewish eye surgeon at Natural Vision in Madera.
Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the 10 “Days of Awe,” which end with Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews, Kaye said.
“It’s the time that Jewish people accept God as their king,” he said.
But Rosh Hashanah is not marked with happiness and warmth like a traditional New Year’s celebration.
“It’s actually kind of a fearful day for Jewish people,” Kaye said. “It is ruled by God who will live, who will die, who will be happy, who will be sad, and other judgments.”
Jews are not allowed to pray for themselves on Rosh Hashanah, but will spend the remainder of the 10 Days of Awe praying to God to forgive their sins, he said.
“The final decree is given on Yom Kippur,” Kaye said.
No Jewish synagogue exists in Madera, so much of the Jewish community travels to Fresno for worship, Kaye said.
“the Jewish community here is very small – almost invisible,” he said.
MADERA TRIBUNE by Farin Montanez