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Gearing Up for Rosh Hashanah
September 17, 2014

Jerusalem is gearing up for the High Holidays, with Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year now less than two weeks away. (Here are the dates of all the Jewish holidays coming up in the next few weeks.)

That means honey cakes showing up in the stores and the call of the shofar -- the ram's horn -- piercing the morning skies in many Jerusalem neighborhoods.

This particular New Year will be a significant one in the Land of Israel, for it will begin a Shemitta year -- a sabbatical year during which many Israeli farmers follow the Biblical injunction to let the land rest and their fields lie fallow. (Here's what Shemitta is all about, courtesy of

Volunteers from around the world have come to participate in the Shemitta preparations, including a group from HaYovel, founded by Christian country singer Zac Waller -- also the author of the moving song, "Israel, You're Not Alone."

For those getting ready for the holiday, or who want an early taste of it, here's my favorite round honey challah recipe. (Guess what I'll be busy baking this week?) Round honey challah is a traditional bread served on Rosh Hashanah. For a step-by-step guide to guide you through the intricacies of a traditional Rosh Hashana evening meal, check out the one on the Chabad website.

If you're strolling around Jerusalem and can't wait until the holiday for a taste of apple and spice, stop by the Muffin Boutique on Ben Yehuda Street and have a taste of their apple pie streusel muffin. You won't be sorry! More details about the muffin man's new shop.

Last minute holiday gift shopping still to do? Browse our store for some inspiration!

Since most people are busy getting ready for the holidays, things are kind of quiet on the festival and cultural events front. But you may want to swing by Ein Karem if you have time on Thursday evening to enjoy this picturesque neighborhood's art fair, complete with street performances and concerts. Thursday, September 18, between 18:00 and 23:00.

Your Prayers in the Wall

As we prepare for a new year, we are here to deliver your prayers to the Western Wall in Jerusalem for you. (Your prayers are strictly confidential and are deleted from our system as soon as they are delivered to the Wall.)

This is a free service that we consider a privilege to provide. Jewish tradition, however, teaches that prayer and charity, together, have the power to change Divine decrees. So please consider super-charging your prayer with a gift to our charity fund for disabled children in Jerusalem. Your contribution, however small, will help provide much needed services, therapy and medications for severely disabled children in Jerusalem.

Thanks for Helping Us Serve You

And we'd like to thank all of you who participated in our reader survey this summer. We appreciate each and every response that we got and we're busy analyzing the data you provided us with in order to create an ever better website that will provide you with even more of what you want. Thank you! Those of you who didn't pick up your gift copy of our Traveler's Prayer can still do that right here.

Enjoy the last week of the year!

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