Skip to content

Richmond’s Jewish community marks the New Year with traditional Rosh Hashanah celebrations

on October 1, 2019

Richmond’s Jewish community joined Jews around the world this week to mark their faith’s High Holidays. Among them, members of Temple Beth Hillel gathered to celebrate Rosh Hashanah which marks the New Year in the Jewish Calendar.

L’shana Tovah banner at Temple Beth Hillel

Greetings of “L’shana Tovah,” a Hebrew saying to wish someone a good year, filled the air as service began. Songs of praise, prayer readings, and the sounding of the shofar, a ram’s horn used during Jewish religious ceremonies, were the essence of the service. Afterward, worshippers broke bread and ate apples dipped in honey in hopes of a sweet New Year. Worship began at sunset on Sunday, September 30, and concludes at sunset on Tuesday, October 1.

A ram’s horn, known in the Jewish faith as a Shofar. Typically used in Jewish ceremonies such as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Wishes for peace and good health echoed among members when asked what they were looking forward to for the new year.

“For me, I see [Rosh Hashanah] as a potential new beginning, because now we have the opportunity to start afresh, a new year . . . and hopefully, a chance for us to be truer and better versions of ourselves,” said Larry Fox, former president and board member of Temple Beth Hillel.

Temple Beth Hillel is a small Jewish reform temple that has been in Richmond for more than half a century.  Around 70 families are part of the temple’s congregation. Diverse in essence, the temple is open to serving those in its community, even working with leaders from other faiths to give food to those in need and coming together during times of violence.

“[What] I would really like to see for [Rosh Hashanah] [is] an end to the hate and divisiveness,” said Neil Zarchin, President of Temple Beth Hillel. “Not just for Jews, but for so many Americans that are just coping with horrible animosity and hatred. That would be my hope for the coming year for the greater community.”

Heightened security prevailed on site for the service, due to fears of possible anti-Semitic attacks, especially during High Holidays.  Next week marks Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, starting at sunset on Tuesday October 8.

Rabbi Dean Kertesz

 “Well, my hope for the new year is that it’s a year of healing of divisions and people realizing that we’re all created in God’s image and we got to find what connects us, not what divides us,” said Rabbi Dean Kertesz.

For some, Rosh Hashanah is a time for prayer, self-reflection, and remembering to do good, something Rabbi Kertesz hopes for members of his congregation.

“Death is certain and the time of death is uncertain,” he said. “So what’s the most important thing you want to do with your life in the time you have left?”


  1. Ms. Adams on October 2, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    This is amazing and wonderfully read with so much insight on the Jewish community. Great Work.

Richmond Confidential welcomes comments from our readers, but we ask users to keep all discussion civil and on-topic. Comments post automatically without review from our staff, but we reserve the right to delete material that is libelous, a personal attack, or spam. We request that commenters consistently use the same login name. Comments from the same user posted under multiple aliases may be deleted. Richmond Confidential assumes no liability for comments posted to the site and no endorsement is implied; commenters are solely responsible for their own content.

Card image cap
Richmond Confidential

Richmond Confidential is an online news service produced by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism for, and about, the people of Richmond, California. Our goal is to produce professional and engaging journalism that is useful for the citizens of the city.

Please send news tips to

Latest Posts

Scroll To Top