As we move into autumn, the Jewish community has almost a full month of festivals to celebrate. These are:

Rosh Hashanah – a special festival which celebrates Jewish New Year. The dates of Jewish festivals come from the Hebrew Calendar, so the Jewish New Year begins in autumn, as opposed to 1st January. The festival lasts for 2 days, is a celebration of the creation of the world and marks a fresh start. 

Yom Kippur – this is the Day of Atonement and is known as the holiest day of the Jewish year. At this time, Jewish people traditionally ask for forgiveness of any wrongdoings from God.


We asked Avremi, one of our Shared Lives Carers, to share with us how he and his family and friends will be celebrating these festivals:

The festivals start off with the new year which is over 2 days. We have long prayers on these days and eat all things associated with a sweet new year. That is why we dip apples in honey and we have loads of honey cakes.

The next week is a day of atonement, Yom Kippur. On this day we fast all day and spend the entire day praying. We ask for forgiveness for the things we have done wrong all year around and we know that God will give us a clean slate. When Yom Kippur is over at nightfall, we celebrate that we now can move away from the guilt and start afresh. The following two weeks are of happy celebrations. We build a hut outside (or lazy people like me just have a roof that opens), we put leaves over the roof and have festive meals; we also have musical events. 

In short, there is only one day in this month that is helpful if you are on a diet!!! 

Wishing all our friends at Persona a happy and SWEET new year!

We also asked Laura, another of our Shared Lives Carers, to share how she and her family and friends celebrate these festivals:

It’s been a busy time in the Jewish Calendar. We have just celebrated the Jewish New Year, a time for reflection and prayer, when we ask God to grant us good health, happiness and a prosperous year ahead. 

All Jewish Festivals have special foods connected to them and for the New Year we enjoy honey cake, apples dipped in honey and other sweet foods. These foods symbolise that we hope the coming year will be a ‘sweet’ one. 

Ten days later is Yom Kippur, a serious day when we fast and pray, asking for God’s forgiveness for any misdeeds we have committed over the year. It is a time for introspection and for making resolutions to try and better ourselves.

And then, just 5 days later we celebrate the festival of Sukkos (Tabernacles) when we leave our secure homes and spend the next 7 days living in our decorative garden huts (Sukkah), where we eat our meals and spend as much time as possible. Our children and grandchildren come over to be with us and it’s a time to switch off and forget the stresses of day-to-day life while enjoying some quality family time too. 

I support Etty and she loves being a ‘big sister’ to all our grandchildren. It is lovely to hear her discussing the festivals with them, creating an air of excitement! At college and club, Etty will have baked some yummy food and made crafts and decorations which are hung up on display in our garden hut, alongside some of our children’s artwork from 30 years ago! 

And so, we extend New Year greetings to all carers and staff at Shared Lives and wish you all good health, happiness and a feeling of job satisfaction in the coming year.


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