rosh hashanah

Larry Thal blows the shofar during the Rosh Hashanah service at St. John’s Episcopal Church in this 2017 file photo. The shofar, made of ram’s horn, alerts the congregation to the start of the High Holy Days.

Sick of 2020? Good, because yesterday marked the start of the new year for 5781.

The New Year on the Jewish calendar began Friday Sept. 18 at sundown, also known as Rosh Hashanah. The celebration goes until sundown Sunday, Sept. 20.

As expected, this year’s celebration will be toned down and moved mostly online, a disappointment for many.

“Typically, we have a huge party with like 130 people,” said Mary Grossman, executive director of the Jackson Hole Jewish Community. This time is the beginning of a longer period of reflection, ending in Yom Kippur on Sept. 27, a day of deep reflection and atonement.

“High Holidays are a big deal,” she said, noting it was a big time of socialization for the Jewish community. “It’s really disappointing and upsetting.”

There will be some in-person traditional events, including the blowing of the shofar, the ram’s horn, during Rosh Hashanah. One will be at 1 p.m. Sunday at Owen Bircher Park in Wilson. Grossman said anyone can come with masks and physical distancing, but as she said, “It will be quick. Don’t be late.”

Also Sunday at 4 p.m. will be the blowing of the shafur at Miller Park with Chabad Wyoming. That will be at the corner of Gill and Jackson streets.

On Friday members of the Jackson Hole Jewish Community gave out bags of traditional foods and ceremonial items. Those include a round challah bread (during the rest of the year the challah is a long, braided loaf), a candle, and a kosher ram’s horn for older kids and a plastic one for younger kids.

Josh Kleyman, lay rabbi, apologized to parents in advance.

“It might be like giving your kid a trumpet,” he said, laughing. The idea is to bring the community together in a time when traditional in-person events are limited.

The gifts also include the traditional apples and honey, which people eat to wish a “sweet” new year. The honey is made by a dear friend of the congregation and beekeeper, Hap Johnson, so it’s extra special for the community, Kleyman said.

Services will be held online at There is a service Sept. 18 at sundown, Sept. 19 at 9:30 a.m. and Sept. 20, the second day, at 10 a.m.

At Chabad Wyoming, Rabbi Zalman Mendelsohn said there will be in-person services tonight at The SpringHill Suites by Marriott on Simpson Avenue, with masks and hand sanitizer and social distancing measures. The service Sept. 18 is at 7 p.m., and Sept. 19 will have a 9:30 a.m. service. Sunday, Sept. 20 will have a morning service and shofar at 9:30 a.m. then at 5:30 p.m. They also will be at Miller Park at 4 p.m. with the shofar. Visit for more.

Contact Managing Editor Rebecca Huntington at 732-7078 or

Recommended for you

(1) comment

David Weingart

Shana tova everyone. May 5781 be a better year for all of us

Welcome to the discussion.

Please note: Online comments may also run in our print publications.
Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Please turn off your CAPS LOCK.
No personal attacks. Discuss issues & opinions rather than denigrating someone with an opposing view.
No political attacks. Refrain from using negative slang when identifying political parties.
Be truthful. Don’t knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be proactive. Use the “Report” link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with us. We’d love to hear eyewitness accounts or history behind an article.
Use your real name: Anonymous commenting is not allowed.
The News&Guide welcomes comments from our paid subscribers. Tell us what you think. Thanks for engaging in the conversation!

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.