Happy New Year...the Jewish New Year, that is.
Like I've said, I'm a sorry excuse for a Jew and very much unaware of most things Jewish. I had to look up the Jewish calendar on Wikipedia to learn that it's the year 5773. Apparently even Google knows when it's Rosh Hashanah as evinced by the shofar replacing "o" in it's icon. To be honest, even when my family actually observed the Jewish High Holidays, I didn't know what year we were celebrating.
My only true devotion to Rosh Hashanah was due to the fact that, in New York, it meant no school -not in Maine, though, as I increase the Jewish population by one hundred percent. It also meant another day off in ten days time for Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur, however, is a bit of a downer, a day of atonement. No fun. Rosh Hashanah is a party! Pump it up, Matisyahu.
Admittedly, I know very little of the holiday, so I decided to do a little research.
Did you know that this holiday is closely associated with sounding the shofar? It's supposedly quite loud. I wouldn't know, however, as I've never prayed in synagogue on such an occasion. Here's something I didn't know: Rosh Hashanah is supposed to represent the creation of the Universe (Wikipedia says to capitalize "Universe" in this case -must be a Jewish thing). Ah, ah! I knew this one: Jews are supposed to call their relatives on the eve of Rosh Hashanah before sundown. I've used that as an excuse before. Faculty meeting after school today? Sorry, gotta get home to call Grandy. The new year and all...
Let's face it: Gentile holidays are way more fun. Sorry, my Jewish peeps, I'm throwing you under the bus. Chanukkah is okay, especially with its silent "c" and whimsical spellings, but even multitudes of American Jews celebrate Christmas. It might as well be a Jewish Holiday. Rosh Hashanah, come on! There's no five tons of confetti tossed capriciously and drunkenly around. There's no giant ball of light dropping down in Jerusalem. Nobody's popping corks of Manischewitz. No Klezmer band playing Auld Lang Syne. Just some apples and honey and, if you're lucky, a little gelt...wait, that's Chanukkah. See, you don't even get chocolate money? No fun, Rosh Hashanah.
So, here's my moral epiphany: in the Tri-State area, Rosh Hashanah is better known as Rosh-a-Home-ah because every Jew clogs the Long Island Expressway and the Saw Mill and the Garden State Parkway on the commute home from the city to be in by sundown. Somehow, they all make it in time and, in days past, this included my father whose commute brought him in at exactly 7:42 p.m. every single night of my younger years. We made sure we sat down to dinner, maybe with a fresh challah bread from the city, and we'd eat.
Happy Rosh Hashanah.