Tonight is the beginning of Rosh Hashanah and I’m sitting and watching the sun go down. I am, again, in my little house on the hill by the lagoon with Barney my dog and MeMe my cat. Trying to go anywhere is impossible. I’m not upset about it. It is what it is. I was on call all weekend. I sat in my house and waited for the phone to ring. I do as much as I can in the house. I guess I could do more. Like clean instead of writing. Like purging things instead of editing video. The most important thing is to not do anything that will jinx the quiet. For two days once a month I’m a hermit. Which is fine.
What I miss is the past and that’s not like me. I am so firming standing in the present which is the other reason I’m sitting here by myself. I totally forgot about Rosh HaShanah.I thought it was next week.
Where I live if I meet someone Jewish I usually say “Oh your the other one!”
The fictional character Black CIndy is a better Jew than I in this respect.
I forgot to take tomorrow off from work. Way back when I always worked a few hours on Rosh Hashanah seeing patients who were home bound and could not get out. It always upset my mother. I would explain to her that back in the day when people lived in little villages the family would automatically go visit the old and infirm just like we did on Rosh Hashanah when we walked the streets of Beachmont visiting older relatives.
So as i’m writing this and I click on the Facebook Page of Temple B’Nai Israel and this is there just waiting for me and I am in a puddle of tears. What a gift!
Julius is my grandfather and Max was his brother. When I was young and we went to temple we sat in our row with my grandfather’s name looking down at us and I always felt him there. Grampa Jack.
I have not been to temple in years. I found this online. The Central Synagogue and its streaming live. I can do Rosh Hanshana in my moose jammies. They even have a prayer book that you can download.
Then I found this. Live Streaming and a chat room.
So what is Rosh HaShanah?
Rosh Hashanah (Hebrew: רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה, literally “head of the year”) is the Jewish New Year. The Biblical name for this holiday is Yom Teruah (Hebrew: יוֹם תְּרוּעָה, literally “day [of] shouting/raising a noise”) or the Feast of Trumpets. It is the first of the High Holy Days or יָמִים נוֹרָאִים Yamim Nora’im (“Days of Awe”) which usually occur in the early autumn of the Northern Hemisphere. Rosh Hashanah is a two-day celebration, which begins on the first day of Tishrei. Tishrei is the first month of the Jewish civil year, but the seventh month of the ecclesiastical year.
The earliest origins of the Hebrew New Year are connected to the beginning of the economic year in the agricultural societies of the ancient Near East. The New Year was the beginning of the cycle of sowing, growth, and harvest, the latter marked by its own set of major agricultural festivals. The Semites in general set the beginning of the new year in autumn, while other ancient civilizations such as the Persians or Greeks chose spring for that purpose, in both cases the primary reason being agricultural – the time of sowing the seed and of bringing in the harvest.
The day is said to be the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, and their first actions toward the realization of humanity’s role in God‘s world. Rosh Hashanah customs include sounding the shofar (a hollowed-out ram’s horn) and eating symbolic foods such as apples dipped in honey to evoke a “sweet new year”.
The Hebrew common greeting on Rosh Hashanah is שָׁנָה טוֹבָה “Shanah Tovah“, which, in Hebrew, means “[have a] good year” or similar greetings.
As we heard from our friend Tova (Black Cindy) the food is an important part of the Holiday. Being together and eating together was so important and I have a years of wonderful memories of meals in my Nana’s House and then my parents place in Boca Raton.
“The blessings have the incipit “Yehi ratzon“, meaning “May it be Thy will.” In many cases, the name of the food in Hebrew or Aramaic represents a play on words (a pun). The Yehi Ratzon platter may include apples (dipped in honey, baked or cooked as a compote called mansanada); dates; pomegranates; black-eyed peas; pumpkin-filled pastries called rodanchas; leek fritters called keftedes de prasa; beets; and a whole fish with the head intact. It is also common to eat stuffed vegetables called legumbres yaprakes.”
I have to say I’ve never had a black eye pea in my whole life. My mom loved the apples with honey. I have no memories of fish heads. My mom did make a mean tzimmes. My favorite was brisket with potatoe kugal on top. YUM.
“The use of apples and honey, symbolizing a sweet year, is a late medieval Ashkenazi addition, though it is now almost universally accepted. Typically, round challah bread is served, to symbolize the cycle of the year. Gefilte fish and Lekach are commonly served by Ashkenazic Jews on this holiday. On the second night, new fruits are served to warrant inclusion of the shehecheyanu blessing.”
So we had the apples and the honey, gefilte fish, chopped liver, mazol ball soup, tzimmees, brisket, potaoe kugal, sometimes chicken. My mom would have a story about everything. Honestly, I think she made half the stuff up and for desert she would make some wickedly awful thing with jello with things inside that would totally gross me out. It’s like brownies with nuts. Leave my jello alone. That was probably for the new fruit. As much as it grossed me out I would do anything if she was here to make this for me.
She also made cakes. I’m sure she made a honey cake. Here is a recipe. I’m not sure if it was her’s or one of my aunts.
The other part that I loved was the music. Our cantor growing up had the most amazing voice. It was like being in the presence of angels.
I bet you never heard anything like this.
I watched the second streaming and there was a nice Rabbi talking about how are always busy and we don’t stop to reflect. So I turned it off and now I’m enjoying the silence, the thoughts, the memories.
L’Shana Tova to my friends and relatives! Rosh Hashanah is for everyone.