On September 8, 2021, junior, Nino Manna, along with two other men came outside during a cloudy afternoon during lunch period. One man was holding a sign with John 3:16, the other a huge ram’s horn that swirled around his arm, and Nino wearing a Jewish prayer shawl. One of the men blew the ram’s horn, or a shofar, to mark the beginning of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah.
The Jewish New Year, or Rosh Hashanah, is a widely known celebration to both Jews and Christians alike. However, many of us may not know exactly what Rosh Hashanah is or why it is celebrated in the Jewish culture. Starting on the sunset of September 6th, many Jewish families and communities around the world prepare for the Jewish New Year. On the sunrise of the 7th, families gather to hear the conventional shofar sounding. The next sunrise, on the 8th, the shofar sounds for the last time to announce the beginning of the new year.
However, Rosh Hashanah does not only indicate the Jewish New Year, but it’s sudo-equivalent, Yom Teruah, marks the ten days before Yom Kippur. Nino explains: “Yom Teruah is more of celebrating the celebration of trumpets. It basically celebrates what God has done … It still marks the ten days until Yom Kippur … Nowadays, Jews don’t celebrate Yom Teruah.” Yom Teruah means the Feast of Trumpets ... hence, the shofar.
Nino is Messianic Jewish. For him, it is not just a Jewish holiday; he sees a strong connection to Christ: “I wasn’t doing this event for my Jewish culture or my Judaism, I was doing this because our God is one,” he explains.
When Nino first came to Eastern Christian, he thought he was the only Messianic Jew. However, when Nino met Mrs. Mejia, former Spanish teacher of Eastern Christian, who was a Messianic Jew herself, Nino began to make Jewish connections within the Christian community at Eastern Christian. “Our new secretary, Mrs. BP, Mrs. Blands-Pearson, actually attends Beth-Israel; that's a Messianic congregation in Wayne. I got to know her because I talked to Mrs. Mejia.”
He explains later how he got the motivation to do the shofar sounding for the school on the front lawn. “I didn’t have anyone else to talk to about this side of our Christian-Jewish faith. I really loved getting to know Mrs. BP because she is also really fond of this and we just started to talk. This time of year is the Fall Festival and we said, “Happy New Year.” and she said she wanted her friend to explain the shofar. Then, we had the shofar blowing right here.”
On the front lawn, during the afternoon, Nino stood with two other men who were from the area doing Messianic Jewish preaching. There was a loud, shrill sound of the first blowing of the ram’s horn.
When asked about his opinion about this event, Nino stated, “It was definitely an eye-opener for some students and teachers as well to realize that we’re just one and called to be one people and called to evangelize and love the Jewish people and called to be one nation under God. It was definitely beautiful to experience that ceremony because you’d never think that a Christian school would do that. I’m looking forward to new events like that coming up.”