Happy Rosh Hashanah with Greetings and Free Images for Jewish High Holy Days
Happy Rosh Hashanah! Find 100 free Rosh Hashanah images, greetings, cards, videos, & blessings for Jewish High Holy Days, Jewish New Year, shofar, apples & honey.
Happy Rosh Hashanah for the Jewish New Year! The two-day Rosh Hashanah holiday begins at sundown on Sunday, September 13, 2015, on the first day of the Biblical seventh month of Tishrei. Rosh Hashanah ends on Tuesday evening, September 15. The holiday is the first of the Ten Days of Awe leading up to the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the Jewish New Year 5776.
Rosh Hashanah begins the Jewish High Holy Days and it has been celebrated since the days of Moses – more than 3,300 years! This long tradition of observance carries rich customs and cultural input from Jewish communities wherever Jews have lived. Today, all of these are brought together in Israel where Rosh Hashanah is a two-day national holiday.
On this page you will find dozens of free Rosh Hashanah images and graphics (which you may use for personal use*) as well as the holiday greetings and blessings used in Jewish homes and synagogues in Israel and throughout the world. Enjoy!
Table of Contents
You'll find free Rosh Hashanah images in each section below.
TABLE OF CONTENTS - Jump to Section
Rosh Hashanah began as a commandment given by God to the people of the Tribes of Israel when they were on the journey of the exodus from Egypt, back to their homeland.
The Biblical Hebrew vocabulary has far fewer words than the modern English language.
In the phrase "a day for blowing trumpets" (יוֹם תְּרוּעָה), the Hebrew word Yom Teruah is often translated as blowing. The word can also mean sounding, blasting, shouting, and alarming.
It is the same shofar that God commanded the Tribes of Israel to use to sound an alarm during war – an ancient call to arms and air raid siren.
It is because of this commandment that Rosh Hashanah is also called Yom Hazikaron (יום הזיכרון,) – Day of Remembrance. When the shofar sounds are heard, God remembers His people.
In the Rosh Hashanah prayer service, this supplication is made:
"Remember us with a good memory before You."
The trumpet used to keep the commandment, called a shofar (שׁוֹפָר) in Hebrew, is a horn from any kosher animal other than cattle.
Typically, the shofar is from a ram or an antelope. The ornamental horn of the African Kudu antelope is highly prized for ritual use.
Days of Awe (Yamim Nora'im)
Loud shofar blasts were heard when God came down to Mount Sinai. The trumpeting caused fear and trembling among the people who stood in awe at the presence of God on the mountain, which was violently shaking and set on fire. (See Exodus [Shemot]19:16.)
This moment is relived when the shofar is sounded on Rosh Hashanah. The people descended from the tribes of Israel who witnessed that moment are required to stand in an assembly as the shofar is blown on this holy day.
Ten days later, on Yom Kippur, they will stand together again to hear the shofar.
Yom Kippur 2015 will be the 42nd anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, when the nation of Israel witnessed a miraculous victory after a surprise attack and against all odds. The Israel Defense Forces are always on high-alert for the two days of the Rosh Hashanah Holiday and on Yom Kippur.
The ten days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur are known as the Days of Awe.
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are called the High Holy Days or High Holidays in Judaism.
Want God to Remember You? Get a Shofar!
The shofar sounds are only two: a high note and a low note.
Combinations of these two sounds create the following shofar music used on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur:
Tekiah: A three second, maintained blast which ends abruptly on a high note
Shevarim: Three one second notes that rise in tone, and each ends on a higher note
Teruah: Thirteen short, staccato sounds resembling an alarm or call to war
Tekiah Gedolah: A final blast which lasts a minimum of ten seconds and lingers until the musician runs out of breath
In preparation for Rosh Hashanah, the shofar is blown every weekday in the prior month. When the holidays arrive, the musician is ready for his peak performance.
Watch the video below to listen to the Rosh Hashanah shofar, sounded over the hills of Jerusalem:
"Blow the Shofar in Zion" (תִּקְעוּ שׁוֹפָר בְּצִיּוֹן) – Joel 2:15
Blessing for the Shofar
As the musician prepares to blow the Shofar before the congregation on Rosh Hashanah, this blessing is recited:
Blessing for the Shofar in Hebrew and English
ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו לשמוע קול שופר
"Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Ha'Olam, asher kidishanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu lishmo'a kol shofar."
"Blessed are You LORD, our God, King of the Universe, Who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to hear the voice of the shofar."
Rosh Hashanah Shofar Images
During the 1967 Six-Day War, Israeli troops liberated Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall from 19 years of illegal Jordanian occupation and reunited the city.
Paratroopers rushed to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount to pray. Rabbi Shlomo Goren, Chief Rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces, brought a Torah (Bible) scroll to the gathering and blew a shofar.
This iconic photograph is depicted in the image below, which is a vintage Rosh Hashanah greeting card from the era.
You can find more images of old holiday postcards and greeting cards in the online collection from the Magnes Museum at the University of California in Berkeley.
Shofar Clip Art
You can use the Shofar clip art below to create your own Rosh Hashanah greeting cards and send emails with best wishes for a Happy Rosh Hashanah!
Rosh Chodesh Tishrei
Rosh Chodesh (ראש חודש) is the first day of a month on the Jewish calendar. It occurs at the first sighting of the new moon over Jerusalem. In every month, Rosh Chodesh is always a day for a festive meal and special prayers in Jewish households.
Tishrei (תִּשְׁרֵי) is the seventh month on the Jewish calendar and Rosh Chodesh Tishrei is when Rosh Hashanah begins.
These Jewish Calendars begin with September, 2015, and continue for 16 months through December, 2016.
These are perfect for planning ahead for Jewish holidays and the school term. These also make excellent gifts to say 'Happy Rosh Hashanah!'
Jewish New Year
What does 'Rosh Hashanah' mean?
The word rosh in Hebrew means head. Hashanah means 'the year.' So, 'Rosh Hashanah' is literally translated as 'Head of the Year', i.e., New Year.
If Rosh Hashanah is in the seventh month, why is it the Jewish New Year?
It is because things are not always so simple in Judaism. Remember that Rosh Hashanah is more than 3,300 years old. And on Rosh Hashanah 2015, the religious connection between God and mankind will be 5,776 years old!
To make a long story very short, Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the civil year. The month of Nisan (or Aviv), which begins two weeks before Passover, is the beginning of the religious year. The Jewish New Year begins a new time of physical and spiritual accounting.
In the seventh month:
1. debts and obligations (both monetary and spiritual) are finalized or forgiven;
2. land in Israel is returned to its original, Israelite tribal owner every 50th year at the Jubilee (Yovel);
3. the land of Israel begins a Sabbatical year (shmita year) every seven years in which the land lies fallow and is not planted;
4. the year's harvest in Israel is finishing at the autumnal equinox;
5. rain begins to fall again in Israel after six dry months and are called 'the early rains' in the Bible;
6. and the Day of Judgement and forgiveness – Yom Kippur – is on the tenth day of the month of Tishrei.
Tishrei is the time of accounting, of closing one cycle and beginning another. It is the close of the books of physical and spiritual accounts.
Although the term Rosh Hashanah does not appear in the Bible, it is found in many early Jewish sources where it is identified as Rosh Chodesh Tishrei – the first day of the 7th month.
The actual word Tishrei comes from a Babylonian word which means 'to begin.'
Rosh Hashanah Greetings
One of the important liturgical poems read on Rosh Hashanah contains these words:
"On Rosh Hashanah it is written,
And on Yom Kippur it is sealed."
The thought is that names are written in the Book of Life (סֵּפֶר חַיִּים - Sefer Chaim) on this day and it is decided 'who shall live and who shall die' in the ensuing new year. ('Book of Life' may also be translated as 'Book of the Living'.)
But there are ten days allotted for repentance before the judgement or forgiveness is finalized on Yom Kippur.
Thus, many Rosh Hashanah greetings are wishes for a happy outcome when the Days of Awe conclude.
Rosh Hashanah Greetings in Hebrew Letters, Transliteration and English
One of the most popular holiday greetings uses this theme from the liturgy:
גמר חתימה טובה
"G'mar Chatimah Tovah"
"A good final sealing"
This greeting may also be shortened to:
"[Finish well] A good sealing"
Another variation of this Rosh Hashanah greeting emphasizes being inscribed in the Book of Life:
ל'שנה טובה תכתבו
"L' Shanah Tovah Tikatevu"
"[To a good year inscribed] May you be inscribed for a good year"
Yet another version of this greeting is:
כתיבה וחתימה טובה
"Ketiva v'Chatima Tovah"
"May you be inscribed and/with a good signature"
The classic holiday greeting is:
לְשָׁנָה טוֹבָה תִכָּתֵבוּ וְתֵּחָתֵמוּ
"L'shanah tovah tikatevu ve techatemu"
"For a good year, [may you be] inscribed and sealed"
Another traditional Rosh Hashanah greeting wishes the recipient a long life:
תזכו לשנים רבות
"Tizku leshanim rabbot"
"May you merit many years"
You can never go wrong with a simple 'Happy New Year':
[Good Year] Happy New Year
But, it's better to wish a sweet New Year, too:
שנה טובה ומתוקה
Shana Tova Umetukah
[Have a] Good and Sweet Year
Happy Rosh Hashanah!
It's always appropriate to wish someone a peaceful year. For this reason, doves are often seen on Rosh Hashanah greeting cards. The ancient symbol of the dove carrying the olive branch to Noah after the great flood is still used to represent peace.
Birthday of the World
It is a long tradition that the earth and human beings were created in the seventh month. The Biblical record also states that the ark of Noah came to rest on the mountains of Ararat in the seventh month and many other cultures begin their counting of the years with that event.
In Judaism, calculating the listed genealogies of the ancient ancestors in the Biblical account gives a date for Adam and Eve. On Rosh Hashanah 2015, the years since creation stood will bet 5,776.
So, on every Rosh Hashanah a new year is added to the date and the Birthday of the World is celebrated.
In the Rosh Hashanah prayers, we recite:
"This day is the beginning of Your works, the commemoration of the first day."
Happy Rosh Hashanah is also Happy Birthday World!
Apples and Honey
Because we want a sweet New Year, we eat apples dipped in honey for this Jewish holiday. In the Bible, Israel is referred to as:
"the land of milk and honey"
This signified a land that was bountiful and pleasant. The honey referred to was the honey made from dates. In many parts of the world, it's difficult to find kosher date palm honey. But purists will insist on celebrating Rosh Hashanah with this delicacy.
However, even in Israel today, honey made by bees is the sweet condiment most widely used for dipping apples.
The apple trees are laden with fruit for harvesting during this holiday season and the markets are filled with them.
Blessings for Apples and Honey in English and Hebrew
Before we taste the apples, we say this blessing:
ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם בורא פרי העצ
"Baruch atah adonai eloheinu melech ha'olam, borai p'ri haetz."
"Blessed are You LORD, our God, King of the Universe, Who creates fruit of the tree."
After the first slice of apple is dipped in honey and eaten, this blessing is said:
יהי רצון מלפניך, ה׳ א‑לוהינו וא‑לוהי אבותינו, שתחדש עלינו שנה טובה ומתוקה.
"Y'hi ratzon mil'fanekha, Adonai Eloheinu velohei avoteinu, shet'hadesh aleinu shana tova um'tuka."
"May it be Your will, LORD our God and God of our ancestors, that you renew for us a good and sweet year."
It is customary to have a special dish to serve the apples and honey every year.
Another blessing recited on Rosh Hashanah is the Shehecheyanu (שהחינו, "Who has given us life"). This blessing is used to thank God for reaching very special moments:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הַעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה׃
"Baruch atta Adonai, Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, she-ecḥeyanu ve'qi'eh'manu va'higiy'anu laz'man hazeh."
"Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the Universe, who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this season."
Images of Apples and Honey
Apples and Honey Clip Art
Pomegranates and Rosh Hashanah
When the apple trees are full of fruit, so are the pomegranate trees in Israel. Pomegranates are always featured for the festive Rosh Hashanah meal and there are many folklore traditions that associate them with the holiday.
It is said that the top of the fruit resembles a crown and that this is a reminder that prayers are said to God, King of the Universe. One of the central prayers in the Rosh Hashanah service is the Avinu Malkaynu (Our Father, Our King).
Other traditions say that the seeds of the pomegranate fruit equal the number of commandments that Maimonides counted in medieval days.
It is the custom in some Jewish households to ask God to increase one's merits like the seeds of a pomegranate.
Because of the sheer abundance of seeds in a pomegranate, they are often seen as a passion fruit and a source of fertility.
Pomegranates are often featured on Rosh Hashanah greeting cards.
Happy Rosh Hashanah Greetings from Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz
More Jewish Holidays
What is Passover? Find the historical background of Passover and the Exodus from Egypt, the ruling Pharaoh, maps and charts.
Learn all about the Passover Seder, the Seder Plate, and see the guide for the 17 steps in the Haggadah, This is everything you need to be a guest at a Seder or to conduct your own.
Say 'Happy Passover' with a free Passover greeting. Choose from dozens of Passover greetings which say 'Happy Passover' in Hebrew and in English.
Read more about the history of Israel in this article about the largest religious war in world history, which was fought 40 years ago.
Learn the Hebrew Alphabet in this online tutorial. It also has printable coloring pages and flash cards to help the kids learn, too:
Read about the current crises between Israel and Iran that affects the entire world.
Find poems and songs about Jerusalem to use for Israel Independence Day and the Jewish holidays of Jerusalem Day and Tisha B'Av: An inspirational collection about the most holy place on earth and the city central to Judaism:
Find your home in the homeland for Rosh Hashanah:
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Please leave a comment or question right here.
Writer Fox (author) from the wadi near the little river on August 12, 2013:
I always appreciate your comments. I have a Table of Contents on this article so people can easily find what they are looking for about the Rosh Hashanah Holiday.
Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on August 11, 2013:
Writer Fox - This is amazing and a beautiful and useful collection of art and images. One of my sisters-in-law celebrates Jewish Holy Days and has often included my family throughout the years. This was clearly a huge amount of work. Thank you. Sharing. Theresa
May I make a suggestion? Many hubbers avoid hubs that seem "too long" to them. They want to read and comment on 10-20 hubs a day and they simply don't have time for excessively long hubs and tend to avoid them. I say this from experience. As a historian I used to post what my colleagues thought were short pieces, but they were way too long to interest more than 3-4 hubbers. :) I learned to divide my material from one Looong hub into 3 or 4 shorter hubs. Just a suggestion.
Writer Fox (author) from the wadi near the little river on July 08, 2013:
Thank you, Tillsontitan! I hope many people do share this and that it will add to the holiday celebration for them.
Mary Craig from New York on July 08, 2013:
Beautiful, educational and useful. You've covered a lot of ground here and I have a feeling this hub will be shared and shared again by many. Your clip art is great and you've provided tons of resources as well.
Voted up, awesome, and interesting.