I welcomed in the Jewish New Year with friends on each of the two nights of Rosh Hashanah. I atoned for my multiple and varied sins. I broke fast with a shot of scotch … oh and some friends. And, we dined in sukkahs this past week when the weather has cooperated. This was the first year that we actually spent time with other families during the High Holy Days. We’ve lived here for 5 years, and each year we’ve gone to services with the kids and go home.
It wasn’t that we were trying to avoid people or shun the traditions of the holidays. I simply forgot each year that these holidays are meant for community, and I made no plans. Only after speaking with friends about their holidays do I think, “Maybe next year we’ll host Break Fast” or “It would be really nice to have a sukkah”, but every year the holidays sneak up on me and then like that, poof. They’re gone.
Falashas or Beta Israel. That lost tribe of Dan took a long walk and ended up in Ethiopia where they practiced the biblical laws of Judaism; passing down traditions from generation to generation without support of Hadassah or ORT and without a single subscription to Heeb Magazine.
Turns out, Mom didn’t know that the more religious the Jew, the more shots of liquor the Jew drinks. You have to say Kiddush, after all. And you have to drink l’chaim (lick-hymen to my ladies) to all the good that’s coming in the New Year. And if you’re observant enough not to be driving on a holy day, you’re not worrying about getting a DUI on your way home.
I also learned how it was that the Jewish people managed to survive in the desert for 40 years without going completely meshugenah. It came to me during Break Fast while we were all in the kitchen hovering around the white fish and bagels. Our lovely host decided that we would all be more comfortable sitting around the table in the dining room. Rather than interrupt our conversation and request that we all move to another location, she simply lifted up the tray of food from the kitchen counter and set it down in the dining room. And we all followed without even taking a breath. Our migration to the dining room was perfectly seamless as if choreographed and practiced for weeks leading to this night. It stands to reason, therefore, that our people managed to keep moving in the desert because someone was responsible for the moving of the tray. I’m thinking in biblical times, the Levites were the tray-movers because in support of the Kohen, they were responsible for the preparation of the meal offerings and spices.
Have trays, will follow
All told, we welcomed in the New Year in a celebratory and communal way, which is decidedly a much better tradition than walking miles to the synagogue (not because we didn’t drive but because we couldn’t find a parking spot any closer), braiding and unbraiding the fringe of my father’s tallit for 3 hours and going home to listen to my mother prattle on about everyone at services in the most unflattering of ways. It feels good to be out of the cave.
A sweet and healthy New Year to all my Yids!
Levi with his sukkah