Reflections on Fall and Rosh Hashana

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. For me. Possibly my favorite time. Sweet wishes and loud kisses. Crisp sweet apples, sticky honey and rosy pomegranates full of hope and promise.

I grew up in a place where the sweet anticipation of the Jewish new year – Rosh Hashana – made sense in nature. September is spring in the southern hemisphere, where the earlier-rising sun, fragrant jasmine, fresh-cut grass and tentatively tweeting birds color the day’s gentle breezes with renewal, rebirth and hope.

We dipped round apples into amber honey, prayed and wished for a sweet year, tasted the first bright yellow peaches, and the soft smells and colors and sounds of spring were warm and obvious reminders of life and creation. Rosh Hashana (literally translated as Head of the Year): the birthday of the world.

But here above the equator, the days are imperceptibly shorter. The birds have flown, the grass is too long and the light is low. Vibrant pink and green give way to gentle gold and brown. It’s fall.

Summer is fading, winter is coming… and still, it’s my most favorite time of the year. The promise of creation is everywhere. It’s Rosh Hashana.

The moon, the first of this new Jewish year, is a thinly curved sliver hanging low in an inky sky. Breathtakingly simple. Quiet and bright. Trees are fiercely ablaze in orange, deep red and yellow. There’s been little to no rain all year, no drop in California’s sunny temperature for hundreds of days, but the green leaves still yield to the changing light, the traveling sun and, as the earth turns, those beautiful fiery branches ignite hope.


My love of the fall has surprised and delighted me. I am a sun-loving girl raised way down south, where my favorite time of year was always Rosh Hashana in the scented, hopeful spring.

But, as summer slowly fades into fall here, I feel compelled to reflect on a year both euphoric and difficult, a year of war and of celebration, a year of illness and loss and also one of life and encouragement. I feel inspired now, when I am eating orange persimmons instead of peaches, to celebrate creation even as nature is preparing to hibernate, to wish for a sweet new year of bright light and promise as the night falls earlier and quicker.

It’s the birthday of the world. And birthdays are for celebrating. For wishing. For hoping. For reflecting, and re-evaluating. Spring in the south and fall up north, birthdays carry the promise of life. Possibly of love and smiles and thoughtfully good intention.

My favorite time of year. Time for pumpkins and pomegranates and apples dipped in honey.

And also, fall is definitely time for red boots.

This post was inspired by my friend Michelle T’s beautiful insight on Creation. Thank you Michelle for your wisdom (and for encouraging me to think and not just eat my way through the holiday!).

9 thoughts on “Reflections on Fall and Rosh Hashana

  1. You’ve got me thinking of the two months I spent living with a dear friend and her family in New Zealand. It was their Fall and I had my 2 young children with me. The lambs were no longer lambs, the rolling hills were perfectly green and the days were growing shorter. It was magical. I came home to late Spring here and the joy of longer days. Felt truly blessed that year.
    Fall is my favorite time of year too! I’m planning a trip to the pumpkin patch even though my two are away at college!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That sounds spectacular, Kelly, to come from an exquisite fall to a delicious spring, back to back!
      Pumpkin patches are fabulous at any age. I love the traditional orange ones – is there any shade of orange more perfect? – but my very best are the weird and wonderful pumpkins. Those were a delightful discovery when we moved to the US. Happy blessed fall to you.


  2. Beautifully written, Nicki! So sweet to hear your voice from far away. When we were walking out of the Old City on Rosh Hashana and we spotted that sliver of moon in the sky, the kids were awed. I thought of that moment while reading your description of the moon in your piece. Shana Tova!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As always I love reading your blog – sending love from our Spring to your Fall, both of which are two beautiful Seasons.
    Lots of love Hillary xxxx


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