Rosh Hashanah – Reflection at the Start of a New Year

This coming Friday evening at sundown marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah (Head of the Year) starts the New Year in the Jewish calendar. During this holiday and the days leading up to Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), Jews are encouraged to reflect on the year past. We take stock of ourselves and take time to examine our own faults and shortcomings.

A Jewish custom coincides with this self-reflective spiritual exercise. Tashlich (“casting off”) is the practice of symbolically getting rid of one’s sins. During Tashlich, Jews are asked to walk to a large flowing water source (a creek, river, or large lake) and empty their pockets, to figuratively cast off our sins. Small breadcrumbs or bird seed is commonly placed in the pockets to be thrown. This practice is not mentioned in the Torah but has become a long-standing custom in Judaism.

As we move into this new academic year, this ritual of letting go and moving forward holds special significance. In beginning autumn, and facing the next stage of our COVID journey together, how can we take stock of where we have been and where we are going? What are some positive things you are looking forward to with this new season and academic year? What are some things you might be ready to “cast off” and leave behind? Do you have your own way of “cleansing” or “renewing” yourself to begin again?

Reflection by:  Matthew Charnay, Jewish Life Coordinator, Division of Mission and Ministry


Jewish High Holiday Services – DePaul University

All students, staff, and faculty of the DePaul community are invited free-of-charge to attend our fun, engaging and fully virtual High Holiday Services. For more information, visit:

Stirred and Spurred into Action

Take a moment to pause and reflect on what your gift will be.

The Jewish High Holidays, beginning this year on the eve of September 29th with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, are a chance for all to take a moment to pause and reflect on the past. We do this in order to prepare for the important work that lies ahead in the future. The blowing of the Shofar, the ram’s horn, signals the beginning of these sacred days. The Shofar’s blast becomes a call to prayer, and a call to open our hearts to the current moment. It invites us to pause from the ordinary of life, to enter into reflection, and to take stock of our life and the person we have become.

Taking a moment to pause and reflect is a big part of Judaism (just as it’s a big part of being Vincentian). During this Jewish season of the High Holidays, how might the blast of the Shofar ringing in your heart be calling you to prayer or to reflect on your life? What will you offer this year as a gift of service in your personal and professional life in the DePaul community and beyond?

Wishing you good health, happiness, peace, and prosperity today and all through this year. L’shanah Tovah!

Rosh Hashanah isn’t just about being new, it’s about a change.” – Max Levis

(Max Levis quote source:

Reflection by:

Mat Charnay, Coordinator for Jewish Life and Interfaith Engagement, Division of Mission and Ministry