, located off of McGee Road in Snellville, is preparing for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish High Holidays. It is the only Reformed Jewish house of worship in Gwinnett County.
Rosh Hashanah literally means “head of the year,” and marks the beginning of the year from the anniversary of creation, according to Temple president Paul Weiss.
Weiss grew up in the Detroit area as a child. His neighborhood back then was entirely Jewish. When he was in elementary school, the school closed for Rosh Hashanah simply because there wouldn’t be enough children to attend. Things changed when he went to high school; the other feeder middle school had no Jewish kids. He was the first Jew many of his friends ever met.
As a child, Weiss’ synagogue had to a have an extra room during the High Holidays just to accommodate all the extra people. With around 80 families, the atmosphere at Temple Beth David is more communal.
“There’s a Hebrew word, mishpacha, which implies a bond that is stronger than family,” said Weiss. “When you walk into a synagogue like this one, you’re part of the family from the moment you walk through the door.”
Rosh Hashanah is also a day that emphasizes the relationship between the Creator and humanity, and is the first of ten days leading up to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
It is also the day that G-d is proclaimed "King of the Universe."
To celebrate, the congregation will read a special section of Genesis out of the Torah, which is comprised of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The story of creation is read as well as the story of the binding of Isaac. Members of the synagogue will share traditional food, which includes apples and honey to celebrate a sweet new year, and challah, a braided bread. You’ll also see pomegranates, a fruit native to Israel, placed on the tables.
“It’s one of the most important days of the year,” said Weiss.