Rosh Hashanah, known as the Jewish New Year, began at sundown Sunday, as Jews around the world prepare to start fresh and welcome in a new year. The holiday, which falls on the first two days of the Hebrew calendar's month of Tishrei, literally translates to "head of the year," and kicks off the beginning of the Jewish religion's holiest days.
The scripture refers to Rosh Hashanah as the "Day of Judgment," and it is believed that on the holiday, the Book of Life is opened by God, and He decides who shall live and who shall die. The days in between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, are seen as the chance to offer repentance for sins and to end up with a good fate from God. Yom Kippur is known as the "Day of Atonement," the day the Book of Life is closed.
“This time of year really is an opportunity for reflection both personally and as a citizen of the United States and of the world,” New York City's Central Synagogue Rabbi Peter Rubinstein told CBS.
The holiday is welcomed by several traditions, including the blowing of the shofar, an instrument made of a hollowed-out ram's horn that is blown in specific intervals. Jews also eat sweet foods such as apples dipped in honey or raisin challah to ensure that the new year is a sweet and happy one.
As usual, President Obama had a Rosh Hashanah greeting, as did his GOP rival Mitt Romney, as the two vie for the presidency amidst heightened tensions in the Middle East and with their ally in the region, Israel.