Ring in Rosh Hashanah with alternative Jewish rituals: bonfires and zikr

The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, begins Wednesday at sundown. Many Jews sit down to dinners of brisket and apples and honey to ring in a sweet new year.

Others light bonfires.

Co-hosted by The Jewish Community Center of San Francisco and the nonprofit, Reboot, hundreds of people will gather at Ocean Beach from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. to symbolically throw their regrets into the Pacific – a ritual that’s called “tashlich” in Hebrew. The age-old tradition will get a modern spin as shofar blowers will be accompanied by bag pipers, members of the Jazz Mafia and Ministers of Sound of the Saint Josh Will-I-Am Coltraine African Orthodox Church. Afterward, guests will eat s’mores at a bonfire. The event is free.

In the East Bay, Camp Tawonga is hosting an “Erev Rosh Hashanah Celebration” at Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. There will be lots of music and spiritual, family-friendly activities. Tickets can be bought here.

In Berkeley, Urban Adamah and Torah Awakening are offering services beginning Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. that include “chanting, meditation, non-dual non-dual Jewish enlightenment teachings, dancing, zikr, separate farm-based children’s programming and more.” Tickets are sold out.

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