(CNS) - Rosh Hashana begins at sundown Monday, with some congregations and Jewish organizations across the nation conducting online and outdoor services for a second consecutive year, while indoor services return at others after a year's absence.
Rosh Hashana marks the Jewish New Year and ushers in the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of repentance and contemplation culminating in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, Judaism's most solemn and somber day.
During the High Holy Days, Jewish tradition holds that God records the fate of each person for the coming year in the Book of Life, which is sealed at the end of Yom Kippur.
Services marking the arrival of the year 5782 on the Hebrew calendar will be held Monday night -- the day begins at sundown on the Hebrew calendar -- and Tuesday. They feature the blowing of the shofar, a ram's horn mentioned in the Torah and used by ancient Jews in religious ceremonies and as a call to arms -- and now used at Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
Jews are biblically commanded to hear the shofar during the High Holy Days.
Rosh Hashana is a time when Jews gather with family members and their communities to reflect on the past year and the one beginning. Celebrants also eat festive meals featuring apples dipped in honey, symbolic of the wishes for a sweet year.
Although most congregations require membership and tickets for High Holy Days services, some synagogues and organizations hold services and Rosh Hashana observances that are open to the public at no charge.
In his Rosh Hashana message, President Joe Biden said, "Rosh Hashanah and the Days of Awe that follow charge those who celebrate to pause, look inward, and reflect on the past year. It is a time to undertake an inventory of the soul, a cheshbon hanefesh, and to ask of ourselves and of each other questions that go beyond our own individual faiths: Who do I want to be? What type of nation do we want to forge? What type of world do we want to create?
"That is the message and gift of the Jewish New Year -- a reminder of our infinite capacity to transform our lives and begin anew. To partner with the Divine and our fellow human beings in the ongoing work of creation. To rebuild our communities through empathy, acts of kindness, and compassion. To seek repentance, or teshuva, when we have fallen short of our values.
"Rosh Hashanah is a reaffirmation that we are each endowed, by virtue of our Creator and our common humanity, with the ability to bridge the gap between the world we see and the world we seek."