Holidays / Rosh Hashanah / Rosh Hashanah Readings

Tekiah Gedolah! What Bruce Lee taught me about the meaning of the shofar.

Adam Growald

A way to understand the power of the shofar in the moment. 

First line: Synagogues never seem to have enough air conditioning — at least that’s how I remember them growing up. Last line: And G’mar chatima tovah: may you sign your name with love in the eternal Book of Life.

Blessing For Anyone Who Isn't Jewish ('Cause We Know This Is A Lot)

-Inspired by Rabbi Janet Marder

So here is the thing, half of the Jewish families that we know are headed by a couple where one of them is not Jewish. And we think eureka! That is great! Why isn’t there a blessing for that person who is not Jewish but participating in a Jewish home/life! And… there is! And we love it and hope you do too!

First line: May everyone who shares in a Jewish life feel welcome and integrated. Last line: With all our hearts, we want to thank you for your love and willingness in giving the ultimate gift to the Jewish people. Amen…


-Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the long list of things we want to change about ourselves (after all, we really are our own worst critics). Check out what Rami M. Shapiro, an award-winning writer and speaker on Judaism and spirituality, has to say about his own list.

First line: Here I am. Last line: Heenaynee – Here I am!…

Get Up

-Rabbi Allen Maller

Totally powerful reading! One of the best for the new year. First line: O Lord, sometimes I feel sad, useless. Last line: Staying on the floor is…

Why Forgive?

-Johann Christoph Arnold

Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting or ignoring wrongdoings, but it’s still so important if we want to feel better.

First line: Forgiveness is a door to peace and happiness. Last line: Forgiveness is a catalyst creating the atmosphere necessary for a fresh start and a new beginning…

Each Second

-Pablo Casals

Pablo Casals was most well-known for his talent as a musician, but he was also a great writer. This reading on teaching our children is especially meaningful for parents.

First line: Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that never was before and will never be again – and what do we teach our children? Last line: You must work – we all must work to make this world worthy of its children…


For The Sin We Committed

-Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins

Try to read this with some call and response group interaction. Like the men can read the italics and the women read the non-italics, or everyone under 35 read italics and over 35 read the non-italics. You get the idea. The content of this reading is a little “damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” but really, isn’t that how much of life is?

First line: For the sin we committed by not serving our community. Last line: And for the sin we committed by not loving ourselves and not caring enough for ourselves…

For The Mitzvah

-Author Unknown

We spend a lot of time during Rosh Hashanah thinking about mistakes that we’ve made in the past year. This call-and-response reading helps remind us of some of the things that we’ve done that make us proud. It’s especially powerful when recited out loud with a group.

First line: For the mitzvah we have done when we held back a sharp and critical tongue. Last line: For the mitzvah we have done when we resisted addictive use of alcohol, drugs, food or sex and instead acted in loving and responsible ways towards our bodies…

A Prayer For The Jewish New Year

-Rabbi John L. Rosove

The value of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, is critical for the Jewish people. This reading emphasizes this.

First line: May we hold lovingly in our thoughts those who suffer from tyranny, subjection, cruelty, and injustice, and work every day towards the alleviation of their suffering. Last line: May the Jewish people, the state of Israel, and all peoples know peace in this New Year, and may we nurture kindness and love everywhere…

The Past Got In My Eyes

-Author Unknown

Can you imagine not letting your past control your future? Such a simple idea that even a Peanuts comic strip takes on this challenging topic.

First line: There is a Peanuts cartoon that poses food for thought for the High Holy Days. Last line: But this cartoon reminds us that if we choose to allow it, the past can continue to influence our present and, in turn, our future…


-Author Unknown

Tashlich is a beautiful Rosh Hashanah ritual that symbolizes the casting-off of sins and the creation of a fresh start. Ideally it takes place at a source of naturally flowing water, such as a creek or lake, but any available water source (like the faucet in the kitchen sink) will do.

First line: Tashlich is the symbolic gesture of Teshuvah or repentance, when we empty our pockets of our sins and cast them away. Last line: Lightening our load of bad feeling and making space for good and positive energy will allow us to go into this new year with a clean slate and have more peace in our daily life…

Prayer For Tashlich

-Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

Read this prayer, take a deep breath, maybe close your eyes, and release your wrongdoings into the water!

First line: Here I am again ready to let go of my mistakes. Last line: Renew my soul as the dew renews the grasses. Amen…

At The Water's Edge

-Elizabeth Tragash

No matter where you are… river, stream, ocean, backyard hose… this is a dramatic reading for your Tashlich ceremony!

First line: On this sacred day when the old year slips away we prepare to meet the year ahead, we stand at the water’s edge, our pockets lined with dust and bread, symbols of our shortcomings and regrets. Last line: Many are the regrets and sorrows that weigh upon our hearts and souls, let us cast them into the moving waters so we can begin to build bridges connecting us one to another…

A Rebbi's Proverb

-Danny Siegel

This to-the-point commentary on how to treat others is short and beautiful.

First line: If you always assume the one sitting next to you is the Messiah waiting for some simple human kindness you will soon come to weigh your words and watch your hands. Last line: And if the Messiah so chooses not to be revealed in your time it will not matter…

May We Love

-Rabbi John L. Rosove

May we hold lovingly in our thoughts those who suffer from tyranny, subjection, cruelty, and injustice… and other important reminders of what needs to get done to ensure a just and peaceful future for all. (Yeah, it’s definitely time for us to get on this.)

First line: May we hold lovingly in our thoughts those who suffer from tyranny, subjection, cruelty, and injustice, and work every day towards the alleviation of their suffering. Last line: May the Jewish people, the state of Israel, and all peoples know peace in this New Year, and may we nurture kindness and love everywhere…

The Final Analysis

-Kent M. Keith, adapted by Mother Teresa

This is a sweet reading by the famous Mother Teresa. If you don’t believe in God, just drop the last verse and it’s still strong.

First line: People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. Last line: You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway…

Forgive, Forgive, Forgive

-Author Unknown

Yes, this reading is perfect for Yom Kippur, but truthfully, we should probably all be doing a lot of forgiveness year-round. The title of this reading says it all: ask forgiveness, forgive others, and forgive yourself. It’s harder than it sounds, but the payoff is BIG.

First line: If I have harmed anyone in any way either knowingly or unknowingly through my own confusions, I ask their forgiveness. Last line: For all the ways that I harm myself, negate, doubt, belittle myself, judge or be unkind to myself through my own confusions, I forgive myself…

Hineni: Here I Am

-Author Unknown

Hineni means “Here I am!” in Hebrew. It’s a promise of openness and commitment. You can say it to your loved ones (like when you are going to put your phone away and really focus), or in the case of this reading, you can say it to yourself and/or Spirit as you prepare yourself for the Days of Awe (the 10-day period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur).

First line: Here I am, one soul within this prayer community. Last line: I now prepare myself to pray – one soul amidst this holy congregation…

The World Doesn’t Need More People Beating Themselves Up Inside

-Cristen Rodgers

The world doesn’t need author, Cristen Rodgers, knows that daring to forgive and show compassion, particularly with ourselves, IS NOT EASY. Try to do it anyway.

First line: The world doesn’t need more people beating themselves up inside, making a bloody mess of their broken hearts and tattered shreds of their minds. Last line: The world needs more beautiful souls like yours who choose to see the beauty in their scars, who dare to forgive, to take their great big hearts and turn them inside out and give themselves the same kind of compassion that they give to others…

A New Year's Resolution (That We Can't Just Give Up On In A Few Weeks...)

-A JewBelong Original

First line: Many of us make resolutions on Rosh Hashanah about the kind of person we want to be in the coming year… call your mom, start meditating, lose five pounds. Last line: We’ve already learned the bitter lesson that true hate is never little, it is never unimportant, and it should never, ever be ignored…

I Hereby Forgive

-Author Unknown

Beautiful sentiments for Yom Kippur and whenever we think about forgiveness.

First line: Whoever has hurt me or has done me any wrong. Last line: Be my inspirations for the coming year…

Teaching Your Children About God

-Rabbi David J. Wolpe

Might be our favorite reading. Not kidding.

First line: There was once a man who stood before God, his heart breaking from the pain and injustice in the world. Last line: God responded, “I did, I sent you.”…

The Beginning Of The Journey

-Adapted from Mayyim Hayyim

First line: May I begin this year fresh and open to the possibility of transformation. Last line: May I return to my true self and be strengthened as I continue my journey of tikkun halev – repairing the heart, tikkun hanefresh – repairing the soul and tikkun olam – repairing the world…

Rosh Hashanah Short But Sweet

-Multiple Authors

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