Irina Zelmanov, a visiting sevadar from Israel, hosted a very happy Rosh Hashanah celebration at Gobind Sadan on September 16, 2023. This celebration marks the Jewish New Year and the beginning of 10 days of reflection over the mistakes one has made in the past year, with requests for forgiveness, and dedication to living a better new year.
The celebration was held in the auditorium rather than the Sh’ma Place because of rain, but that emergency venue became an inviting place, embracing sangat old and young of all castes and creeds. Irina explained its meaning and then Siri Chand, one of Gobind Sadan’s pandits, donned a Jewish prayer shawl and blew the traditional shofar calling people to gather in God’s presence. Irina and Sonu Pal recited the central Jewish prayer, the Sh’ma Israel: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is One. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
Gobind Sadan’s imam Jabbar Ali also spoke of the Oneness of God and explained that Judaism and Islam both branched off from the same patriarch, Abraham. Hardip Singh thanked Baba Virsa Singh for founding Gobind Sadan as a place where people of all religions find their common ground and live and worship together. He also congratulated the sangat on the 490th year of Guru Granth Sahib Prakash Purab, which fell on the same day.
Irina explained the traditional food offering, which consists of pieces of apple dipped in honey, for a sweet new year, and pomegranate seeds, symbolizing the wish for a multitude of blessings. After the sangat ate that prasad, the children happily danced with Irina to traditional Rosh Hoshanah music.