What You Didn't Know About Rosh Hashanah This Year

Happy Rosh Hashanah!

Technically, there are four new years in the Jewish calendar, but today's holiday marks the day that the world was finally completed, according to Judaism. Rosh Hashanah ushers in the High Holy Days, culminating in the observance of Yom Kippur ten days later. Literally, Rosh Hashanah translates into "head of the year," and occurs each year on a new moon.

This year marks the 5774th new year. So, what could possibly be new about 2013's Rosh Hashanah? Glad you asked.

It's VERY early this year.

And by 'VERY early,' we mean that you're not going to see an earlier Rosh Hashanah in your lifetime — unless you live to 2089, in which case you'll get a very big congratulations from us. The last time Rosh Hashanah fell this early, it was 1899 — and we're fairly sure you weren't alive then, either.

For Americans, the holiday also falls at a weird time: just after Labor Day, and right after the kids (if you have them) have returned to school. The holiday also collides with New York Fashion Week this year, which has led to some bloggers and fashion players being forced to skip shows.

Last year, we didn't celebrate by performing a Rosh Hashanah version of Daft Punk's "Get Lucky."

So, that happened. It's called "Get Clarity."

Obama is getting into the holiday spirit.

On Wednesday morning, Obama conference-called close to 1,000 rabbis and wished them a happy New Year, on behalf of himself and the First Family. (By the way, someone really needs to finish this joke: So Obama walks into a conference call with 1000 rabbis...) In light of the half-century anniversary of the March on Washington, Obama also drew attention to the important role that American Jews played in the civil rights movement.

He also discussed with the rabbis the renewed hope of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and sought advice and analysis from the four major rabbinical organizations on the call.

In the Syrian capital Damascus, there are only a few dozen Jews publicly celebrating.

The bloody civil war that has engulfed the region has killed over 100,000 people in Syria and prompted roughly two million to flee the country. In the Syrian capital, according to the International Business Times , there are only about 50 Jews left. "The average age is around 45 or 50," said a source. "There are no youths under that age to my knowledge. No youths, no children."

Even though they're small in number — and their 2,000-year-old synagogue was burnt to the ground and looted in April — the Jews in Damascus still intend to celebrate the holiday as normal. Supplies of kosher meat and wine are being delivered to them by supporters.

The Huffington Post continues to enlighten us all.

A Rosh Hashanah-themed editorial on HuffPo by Levi Ben-Shmuel begins as follows:

My son Jacob has been playing the Spice Girls 1996 hit "Wannabe" a lot lately. In a flash, the connection between the song and preparation for Rosh Hashanah came to me a few nights ago. The lyric, "So tell me what you want, what you really really want" speaks to the heart of what the Creator asks us as we look back over the past year in preparation for Rosh Hashanah, traditionally the day we are judged to determine if we merit another year of life on planet Earth.

Tell us, what does what can "When Two Become One" teach us about Judaism? The possibilities are really endless here.

Maybe Yoel, American Apparel's new Hasidic model, can let us know...

L'shana Tova, indeed.