Tonight, Jews around the world will begin the holiday of Rosh Hashanah. In English, the days are referred to as Days Of Awe.
For the next two days, we pray to G-d to forgive our sins (and ask our fellow mortals to forgive our sins against them) and to write us in the book of life for the next year.
For many Jews who are not regularly observant, the next two days and Yom Kippur (which occurs next week) are equivalent to a student who does nothing all semester, then suddenly crams like there is no tomorrow for the final.
For me personally, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are more than days off. It is a chance to not just reconnect with my tradition, but to recharge away from the craziness that is life. These days allow me to look back at where I was last year at this time, what mistakes I made and how I can learn from those mistakes.
In between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is a ritual called Tashlich. In essence, Tashlich is when we symbolically cleanse ourselves of our sins of the past year by throwing bread into an open body of water. For me, it is the most personal part of the holiday. It is as if I have a personal line to G-d and I am receiving a one on one session where I am confessing my sins. After completing Tashlich, I always have a lightness of being that I did not have before.
L’Shana Tova and Happy New Year to those who celebrate.