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White House to host first-ever Rosh Hashana party

Biden announces a reception to celebrate the Jewish holiday that is to be held this September

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President Joe Biden speaks a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022. Biden has announced that the White House will host a party to celebrate the Jewish New Year.

Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

“Shanah Tovah Umetukah” — or “may you have a good and sweet new year” — is the traditional Jewish Rosh Hashana greeting.

This year the greeting will be used to celebrate the first-ever Jewish New Year reception hosted by President Joe Biden at the White House, as reported by Jewish Insider.

“(Rosh Hashana) is a time to undertake an inventory of the soul, a cheshbon hanefesh, and to ask of ourselves and of each other questions that go beyond our own individual faiths: Who do I want to be? What type of nation do we want to forge? What type of world do we want to create,” Biden said in his 2021 Rosh Hashana address.

Rosh Hashana is the start of a new year on the Jewish calendar and celebrates the past year, as well as the beginning of the creation of the world and humankind.

When is Rosh Hashana 2022?

The holiday will be celebrated from sundown on Sunday, Sept. 25, to sundown on Tuesday, Sept. 27, this year.

Since the holiday’s dates are reflective of the Jewish calendar, dates change year to year but usually fall in the months of September and October, per Almanac. The calendar is lunar, which explains why starting and ending at sundown is important.

The reception in the White House will be on Sept. 30, between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

What other religious holidays have been celebrated in the White House?

Earlier this year, The Associated Press reported that Biden revived a White House celebration of Eid al-Fitr — marking the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan — that had been a tradition since the Clinton administration until it was discontinued by the Trump administration.

A menorah has been lit in the White House for the Hanukkah season since the Bush administration and put on display during the Jewish holiday recorded in the White House’s history.

“Rosh Hashana is a reaffirmation that we are each endowed, by virtue of our Creator and our common humanity, with the ability to bridge the gap between the world we see and the world we seek,” Biden said.