Members of the Temple Beth Torah in Chantilly gathered on Sunday in preparation of the Rosh Hashanah celebration, which marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah (or head of the year), is the first of the High Holy Days (Days of Awe) which usually occur in the fall, said Irwin Kaplan, temple president. Timing of the holy day varies because the Jewish calendar follows a lunar progression based on the phases of the moon.
The holy day begins at sundown on Sunday and is celebrated by Temple Beth Torah congregants until sundown on Monday. Rosh Hashanah customs include sounding the shofar and eating symbolic foods such as apples dipped in honey. After Rosh Hashanah, there is a 10-day period of self-reflection, which leads to Yom Kippur, a day of fasting and spiritual atonement,Kaplan said.
The temple is located in a nondescript industrial park off of Paradise Valley Road and Route 50. The approximately 15-year-old congregation moved into the huge space in 2010, it’s first permanent home.
The foundation of the congregation (originally called Centreville Area Jewish Community) began in 1994 when two local Jewish families placed an ad in a local newspaper seeking other Jewish families with whom to share holidays and traditions. The congregation initially had no house of worship and instead met in members homes.