Archive for September 16th, 2012

September 16, 2012

Happy New Year 5776 Baby!!!

by Teréza Eliasz-Solomon (HeiressMommy™)

L’ Shanah Tovah 5776!!! Seems like only yesterday it was 5770 (lol) … yes, for we, the Jewish people calendar years are quite different than the Gregorian one the entire world [including us] has agreed to adhere to. We the ancient and first monotheistic organized group of people have been calculating the days of the year for now 5776 years as of this Fall 2015. I assure you the Hebrew calendar  [Lunisolar] is a logical and sturdy application of time passing – one REALLY determined by G-d’s plan of nature cycles – as the moon surely rises, so the day comes to be. No need to bicker nor convince the excellence of mine versus yours – only to acknowledge what I feel you will agree is a glorious ideal of what a new year means for everyone.

As I tell non Jews – mine is a faith not easy to practice – a bit of shall we say, heavy lifting involved. There are many tasks and dictates in order to REALLY fulfill the obligations of a Jewish life. Of course, not every Jewish person completes all or even many of the requirements – that is not a deal breaker, as each day G-d allows for another try to achieve the best of what one can be and each new year a path to renewal by acting on and tending to certain issues. Mere window dressing – attendance at religious services nor faux posturing will suffice – it takes true and REAL effort to establish presence in G-d’s world as a worthy person. I told you – it is not easy to be one of G-d’s chosen people – not for the faint of heart or the lazy person in my opinion. Ours is not a religion of false forgiveness either – even though one must attempt reconciliation as each new year approaches, there is no requirement to forgive all – in fact, the opposite is true in that those of evil intentions [miscreants and misanthropes] must certainly be denied G-d’s grace … a sort of “outing” of evil doer types you might say. Wiping the slate clean in order to start anew does NOT equal accepting nor condoning the evil deeds of others – as one must recognize and correct their own short comings as the new year approaches, so it is to be with those around you. Complicated to be sure but magnificent in its honesty – for do we not too often and far too easily accept the obvious wrong doings of those so much less than G-d intended in order to not make waves? Even though it is only G-d who may decide the ultimate punishment – it is us here that must not turn a blind eye to evil or hurtful persons. As the year closes, we Jews attempt a cleansing of our own missteps – a correction of course as best possible and likewise an acceptance and awareness of others both good and bad deeds. Justice is paramount to my Jewish faith – one must not let delusion or comfort soften the task of thwarting those determined to do harm and that makes for a very determined and directed effort as we enter a new calendar year.

So much to do in preparation for the new year … feasts being prepared or ordered for REAL family and friends, new attire to be bought/selected for synagogue attendance and above all, contemplation and reflection to be completed – reaching out to ask and give forgiveness where appropriate. One must repay debts and set right the wrongs against others in an attempt to be worthy of inscription into the new year’s book of life – told you my faith, Judaism, not easy nor without challenges. My gentile extended family and dear supportive REALLY special non Jewish friends continually express admiration for  and of my determination to complete so many rituals. I am thrilled when those in my life who are not Jewish reach out – with calls and cards expressing new year wishes at this time of year – even gifts arrive from many. Adorable are the attempts to say greetings in my Jewish language from those unfamiliar with its pronunciation. A communal sharing with persons of ALL faiths  has become my Jewish New Year template – inviting to join the celebratory meals and chat about its meaning.  My heart swells with gratitude and my soul is comforted by the amazing amount of love and honor so many bestow on myself and my family during this very important time in the Jewish calendar. This is a true glory in my life.

The holiday journey begins with Rosh Hashanah  – literally “head of the year” – our “Days Of Awe” and concludes with the most important date in the Jewish calendar – Yom Kippur – the Day Of Atonement. What I believe is one of the most poignant [yet/still controversial] aspects included in the prayers is Kol Nidre – a certain acceptance and way in of any and all – even those who have strayed from our vows. This is a time where G-d is asking us, his creation, to do a sort of recreation of our world – a renewing. As I explain and discuss in other blog posts and recently when I as interviewed, Judaism is an active faith – one of doing for G-d and taking active responsibility. During this important New Year holiday the sovereignty of G-d … the recognition of G-d’s ultimate role in all things is at the fore. Very right brain/left brain thinking for we Jews – we acknowledge G-d’s prominence, while accepting our own human tasks. So you see, it is a religion both quite wondrous and also somewhat demanding. I adore being Jewish – without slight to others  – I find my faith magnificent in its lifestyle instructive tone. One must be attentive to so many aspects of living in order to be a REALLY good Jew that idleness is never an option. Of course, as with all faiths, not every Jew is adherent nor observant and therefore not all are leading a life as inscribed by our faith. However, I do find that even the most secular Jew has somehow morphed attributes of Judaism into their every day life and choices.  So it is – give or take a bit – the tone of a Jewish family is most often informed by the rules so important during the New Year holiday.

All faiths celebrate their milestones – we Jews are no different. There are festive meals each night of Rosh Hasahnah and then again at the start – for us means sundown on the date Yom Kippur begins, followed by a day of fasting and prayer except for the young, infirmed or pregnant. This whole thing ends with a break fast huge dinner at sundown the next day as the new year finally begins. I was not kidding about my faith being very complicated – a true thinkers faith, don’t you agree? Must admit to having a chuckle now and then when a non Jew asks. “Why are you having breakfast after sundown to end the fast?” – no it is breaking the fast my dears I reply. We are an erudite bookish bunch of folks – we the Jews of the world are demanded much of in our practices and so although not simple nor as fun filled as let us say the Easter Bunny scenario, still full of gaiety and joy each Fall.  As we clear away the debris of the past year and look forward to the promise of a New Year – and as we blow the ceremonial Shofar in homes and synagogues, I wish all G-d’s blessings to those repented and as such deemed worthy!

P.S. I will share again a story I referenced in a previous Jewish themed blog post … once while at Nan Duskin’s in Philadelphia [an upscale store] I overheard my Mother discussing with a rather well known socialite acquaintance she had bumped into that a certain gown or formal dress would be her New Year choice that year – mind you this was September. So when dear Mother and I were en route home, I turned to her in the car asking why so formal for synagogue New Year services, to which clever Mother offered, “No darling, the gentile’s New Year end of December [is where I am wearing a gown]!“. So you see I think Yiddish – seriously, I often need to remember not to date checks or correspondence with the Jewish year. Oy veh, well more of those personal tidbits in my now REALLY soon book, Heiress Mommy … A Modern Super Woman Life!. Until later – Shalom & Happy New Year   5776 to EVERYONE!!!

… one more thing – I have included a Rosh Hashanah Rock Anthem video here for your entertainment – oh yeah, we Jews can rock it out!!!

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