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Rosh Hashanah starts Friday night, here's what you need to know

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins Friday night
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins Friday night 04:14

CHICAGO (CBS)-- Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins Friday night at sundown. 

Here's what you need to know. 

The night marks the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days. Jewish people celebrate Rosh Hashanah on the first and second days of the Hebrew month Tishrei. "Rosh" means "head" in Hebrew, signifying the beginning of the Hebrew year 5784.

Observers honor the holiday by listening to the sound of the "shofar," or a ram's horn. This is considered a mitzvah, a good deed, and a holiday commandment. 

"We hear it in order to have almost an 'alarm clock' to say, here's how we want to do something spiritually for ourselves to start this new year off right," Rabbi Shoshana Conover of Temple Sholom in Lakeview said. "We do that to, in some ways, remember ourselves, remember the best parts of ourselves, put ourselves back together for the beginning of the new year." 

Many Jewish festivals and meals include oval-shaped challah bread. On Rosh Hashanah, a round challah is specially baked. 

Conover said the circle represents the marking of time, and many people add sugar or cinnamon for a sweet new year. 

Apples and honey are traditionally eaten on Rosh Hashanah, signifying a sweet new year. 

"What we want to do is make sure that in this time of year, we're able to dip into the beautiful things that are around us, including that this is apple season," Conover said. "We love to have apples and honey to be able to sweeten this year." 

To wish a friend a happy new year, you can say L'Shana Tovah! 

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