TRADITIONS At sundown on Sun 16, the Jewish community will begin to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the Ten Days of Repentance, which culminates in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. During this period, Jews practice teshuva, reflecting on the previous year and asking for forgiveness from those they have hurt. As with most holidays, food customs are important. To ensure a sweet upcoming year, apples, challah and honey are usually eaten.
OBSERVE Wipe your slate at the Russian Jewish Division and Synagogue F.R.E.E.’s Gala Rosh Hashanah Dinner. Geared toward young professionals, families and students, the evening begins with a candle-lighting ceremony (6:41pm), followed by the actual service and a four-course gefilte fish–dinner (7:30pm). The Bellows Center, 2935 West Devon Ave (773-274-5123, obshina.com). 7pm; $36, students $20.
You don’t need booze or drugs to be enlightened, or to party. Get Higher: Erev Rosh Hashanah hosted by Mishkan—a local org with a self-described, down-to-earth approach to Judaism—mixes customary practices with modern amenities for its inaugural observance. A rabbi moves the service along with the use of prayer book Conservative Mahzor Hadash and transliteration guides for songs. The next day, gather for morning meditation (9:10am) and services (9:30am–1:30pm), bagels and beverages (1:30pm, registration required, $10) and Tashlikh, or ridding yourself of last year’s spiritual muck (6pm at Roscoe Ave Lakefront). Bodhi Spiritual Center, 2746 N Magnolia Ave (mishkanchicago.org). Sun 16 6:30–8:15pm, Mon 17 9:10am; free.