After sundown on Sept. 10, Rosh Hashana, the Jewish year of 5760 begins. In synagogues throughout the world, the plaintive call of the shofar (ram's horn) summons Jews to repentance during the holiday. During Rosh Hashana, God decides the fate of each soul for the coming year, and celebrants say, "May you be inscribed in the Book of Life." However, in Barcelona, Spain, instead of going to temple, a small group of Jews seemingly ignore the occasion, absorbed in their annual card game.
What does it mean?
At a recent conference of Crypto-Judaic Studies, one scholar revealed that descendants of some Inquisition converts (called conversos or anusim) covertly practiced their Jewish faith at Rosh Hashana by placing playing cards on the table while holding prayer books on their laps. Fearing discovery, they surreptitiously chanted New Year's prayers, and instead of calling their cards cartas, they chose the word barajas (also cards), suggesting a double meaning. In Hebrew, brokcha means prayer.