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JewBelong Guides for Rosh Hashanah

This probably isn’t breaking news, but there are plenty of Jews who don’t go to services on Rosh Hashanah for lots of different reasons. 

This probably isn’t breaking news, but there are plenty of Jews who don’t go to services on Rosh Hashanah for lots of different reasons. But since there’s so much pleasure to be had by celebrating the beauty of the Jewish New Year we don’t want to see anyone let it go by unmarked. Which is why we created two-steps to a Kick-Ass Rosh Hashanah, including the Personal Roadmap and the Rosh Haggadah

Step One: Personal Roadmap

The start of the Jewish New Year is a great time for soul-searching, and the Personal Roadmap is a perfect starting point. The Personal Roadmap poses a list of important questions that challenge us to consider the past year and think about how we’d like to move our lives forward. Spending some time with it can even be transformative, especially when you share your answers with a group. For some of us at JewBelong, it’s the most thought-provoking part of the holiday. Questions such as, “If I knew I couldn’t fail, what would I try to accomplish?” And, “What is the most important decision I need to make this year?” The Personal Roadmap also includes inspirational quotes, a chance for you to think about quotes that inspire you, and some really great videos that are just plain fun to watch!

Step Two: Rosh Haggadah (Your Haggadah for Rosh Hashanah)

JewBelong’s Rosh Haggadah is a beautiful mix of blessings, songs, prayers and readings that are sure to add meaning to your holiday. It’s best when read out loud with friends and family Passover-style. We’ve used the Rosh Haggadah for years with our own families and friends and love seeing people who haven’t set foot in a synagogue in years, or ever, as well as those who spent the whole morning at services, all find meaning and joy! Feel free to follow the Rosh Haggadah from beginning to end, or just choose the readings you like. It’s best when used with The Personal Roadmap

Here’s an example of one of one of our original readings:

The Past Got in my Eyes

There is a Peanuts cartoon that poses food for thought for the High Holy Days. In the cartoon, Lucy walks toward Charlie Brown, who is standing on the pitching mound. She tosses him the baseball and says, “Sorry, I missed that easy fly ball. I thought I had it, but suddenly I remembered all the others I’ve missed. The past got in my eyes!” The purpose of the High Holy Days is to acknowledge the past, deal with it and ask for forgiveness for our failures. The hope is that we leave it behind and begin our new year with a clean slate. This cartoon reminds us that if we choose to allow it, the past can continue to influence our present and, in turn, our future. To what avail, we might ask? Are we to let our past misdeeds be the sole determinant of what happens to our future? Or perhaps, if we enter the New Year with a new image, one in which the past does not get in our eyes, this time we may catch on to the importance of taking a renewed look at dealing with life.

Jewish practice is a gift that can fill us with joy, warmth and meaning and should be something we look forward to celebrating regularly. JewBelong.com provides the know-how and content to help people get there, no matter what their starting point is. From Shabbat to the major holidays to lifecycle events, JewBelong.com provides content that is touching and easy-to-use at home or in a larger community setting. Our how-to-guides, booklets and wisdom will speak to those with a regular Jewish practice, and engage those who are lukewarm, disengaged or totally new to Judaism.


View JewBelong’s “How to Lead a Kick-Ass Rosh Hashanah” for tips on leading a Rosh Hashanah gathering.

At JewBelong, we don’t care which of your parents is Jewish, or if neither of them is, or what your Jewish background is… or even whether you believe in God. (Yeah, we said it.) JewBelong helps you make your Judaism your own by putting free, fun, relevant, easy-to-follow, mostly-English, Jewish content at your fingertips. Our how-to guides, booklets and wisdom speak to those with a regular Jewish practice, but are also geared to engage those who are lukewarm, disengaged, or new to Judaism via their Jewish partners.


Archie Gottesman lives in Summit, NJ, with her husband, Gary DeBode, and their three daughters. She has been thinking about how to inspire and excite people about Judaism since she met Gary who was not born Jewish. Archie serves on the board of the Foundation for Jewish Camp and the Women’s Board of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). In addition to her work for Jewish causes, Archie cares deeply about decreasing overpopulation in homeless dogs and is a past chairwoman of Animal Haven Shelter in Soho, NYC. Archie is graduate of Northwestern University and a Wexner Heritage Program alum.

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