A purrfect Jewish New Year?
Hello dear ones and before you think I’ve converted to Judaism since arriving in The Summerland, rest assured, I remain Zen by nature.
However, my furbro Odin is Jewish, as is our dad. I thought it would be useful to share a few useful facts about Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year regardles of your spiritual beliefs.
Knowledge is the bridge to compassion. What we don’t know, we are more likely to be wary of, leading to fear and before you know it, the irrational collective hatred of witchhunts, lynchings or the Holocaust.
Note: This is my feline opinion based on many lifetimes of observing humans. Can you imagine even the largest feral colony ganging up and torturing another cat? Never. Mice, okay but that’s thousands of years of keeping vermin away, to help humans.
What Gentiles Need To Know About The Purrfect Jewish New Year
This the purrfectly simple feline version.
So, it’s Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year and one of the holiest holidays in the Hebrew calendar.
- The celebration lasts two days and began at sundown, yesterday.
- Rosh Hashanah means literally the head or beginning of the year.
- It also celebrates the birth of the universe via the Adam and Eve creation myth.
- The new year, unlike the one celebrated on Dec. 31, is based on the Hebrew calendar and not the Gregorian calendar. It’s never on the same day but it’s always in early autumn. The Hebrew year this year is 5777.
- Instead of wishing someone a happy new year, say shana tova, which means a good sweet year.
- Sweet is the keyword. Apples are traditionally dipped in honey. Other popular foods are round or in autumn colors like pomegranates, pumpkins, carrots, raisins, challah bread, honey cake and other sweets.
- The celebration is an opportunity for family and friends to hang out, eat good food not unlike Thanksgiving to count their blessings but with an added twist of going temple for the High Holy Days where playing the shofar, or ram’s horn announces its loud wake-up call. Have a listen. It’s kind of like a bugle with a little Siamese song.
- In Judaism, the new year is a time of deep reflection. It’s no wonder Freud was Jewish and a disproportionate number of shrinks are Jewish. It’s 5,000 years of annual soul-searching. Think of it as a mental MRI scan of the past year, a personal naughty or nice list. It’s a useful exercise for anyone. It’s not about keeping score or to beat yourself up for acting like an asshole but to observe behavior. What worked. When didn’t it. Were you unkind, nasty, petty, manipulative or a big fat liar? What behavior or unhealthy, shady or cruel habits on any level reared their heads? No one is purrfect except cats. Then vow to do better and atone for the “bad” behavior. When we become aware and know better, we can make healthier choices.
- During the 10 days of the High Holy days, that means asking forgiveness of anyone you may have hurt. Apologize and mean it. Face to face is best, a letter is good, a text, not so much but better than nothing. Don’t forget the emojis. <3 Iris Apfel’s
- Cats of course have no bad habits and never have to atone. Although Odin did have quite the vole-killing spree recently. I must talk to him about repenting.
- The self-reflection continues until Yom Kippur or day of atonement, nine days later. It’s the holiest day and even non-observant Jews wind up fasting for 25 hours and going to shul (temple). It’s a tough fast without any food or water. Kids, pregnant women, the infirm are off the hook. Ditto cats.
- If anyone takes offense for my breezy style, I mean no disrespect. I’m a cat!