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Rosh Hashanah holy day begins for Space Coast Jewish community – Florida Today

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For Rabbi Zvi Konikov, it’s a matter of kindling joy in a year burdened with images of war, stories of economic distress, and stirring political turmoil. 
This Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, Konikov and others with the Chabad of the Space and Treasure Coasts are providing up to 500 residents with bags of free, traditional foods to celebrate. 
“We passed out bags with raisin challah, bottles of honey, and honey cake so that they can start the new year with joy. It’s something for those who may not have or who may be celebrating alone,” Konikov said. 
“And there’s no doubt that some need these gifts. One thousand percent. People are struggling. People are in need.” 
Apples, honey, and round loaves of bread sweetened with raisins are a staple for the two-day Jewish holiday.
Rosh Hashanah also ushers in the Ten Days of Awe, a time of prayer, synagogue service, and self-reflection capped off by Yom Kippur, the holiest day -— and a 24-hour period of fasting — on the Jewish calendar.
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The new year, 5783 on the Hebrew calendar, begins Sunday at sundown and ends Tuesday night. Services will also feature the blasting of the shofar, or the ram’s horn, an instrument used to awaken those souls worn and frayed by the world, faith leaders point out. The giveaway, however, is meant to offer the trappings of the holy period at home as well, Konikov said.
The Chabad Center, through donations, has provided free food packages for the holy days and other community-wide food distributions since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The center also ensured that an Israeli astronaut would be able to celebrate Passover in space by providing special foods during a mission to the International Space Station earlier this year. 
Spiritually, Konikov said that the message of the High Holy Days dovetails with the giveaway.
“We ask questions of ourselves at this time, ‘what is it that I am to do?’ This is the start of a new year, so we start with joy, and that means engaging in giving, bringing happiness and choosing to be joyful,” he said. 
“So many people, families, are broken. What we need now is joy…more joy.” 
J.D. Gallop is a Criminal Justice/Breaking News Reporter at FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Gallop at 321-917-4641 or jgallop@floridatoday.com. Twitter: @JDGallop.
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Sanjeev Ramachandran has found ultimate joy all through his 23-year-long journalism career by writing for national and international newspapers, websites and blogs. From technology to politics to sports to entertainment, he has been able to express ideas and pen opinion pieces on whatever triggers his interest. Currently at the helm of his own content and public relations company, called Siyahi – The Content & PR People, he makes sure that he doesn’t always let administrative tasks take over his writing space.