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Thoughts on Rosh Hashanah 5770, Somber and Sacrilegious

It should be no surprise to people that I haven't had the time to post on my blog as often as I used to; as I assume everyone knows by now, Nomi and I are now parents of twin infant girls, and that takes up a lot of time and energy. (For more on that, see my earlier post on Traction.) That said, tonight the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah begins, inaugurating the year 5770 on the Hebrew calendar, and I have some thoughts to share. Not that I consider my own thoughts on the holiday to be of any real significance, but I imagine they might be of interest to some of you.

To begin with, the arrival of 5770 means that we're entering a new decade. I actually remember ten years ago how one friend of mine, noting the arrival of 5760, made a connection to the culture of the 1960s and suggested that the new decade would be similar. I'll leave that question for the historians to answer while I acknowledge that the Hebrew calendar gives me a few months to get used to the arrival of a new decade on the Gregorian calendar.

Speaking of which, this year, amusingly enough, the first day of Rosh Hashanah coincides with September 19 on the Gregorian calendar. As everyone knows, September 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, which led many of us who noticed this happy coincidence to wonder if this year Rosh Hashanah should also be International Daven Like a Pirate Day. Part of me was expecting to see more jokes and references on this topic as Rosh Hashanah approached, but instead, it seems to have fallen by the wayside (other than the two posts I just linked to, one of which suggests among other things adding the phrase "And who by walking the plank" to Unetaneh Tohkef). My guess is that most people continue to find the holiday too awesome to joke about.

And awesome it is. As others have said much better than I can, Rosh Hashanah is (or can be) an awe-inspiring holiday, in which we contemplate the birthday of the world and God's sovereignty. It also kicks off the ten days of repentance or Days of Awe, during which many of us undergo major introspection about our lives as we try to figure out how to become better people for the new year. For me, personally, the length and depth of the religious services on these days can sometimes work against my finding the spiritual connection I hope for; but this year, things are different. For the first time in a long time, I actually feel as if God has personally blessed me with the great gift possible, and for that I am thankful.

I would say more, but I'm about to collapse from lack of sleep. :-)

For those of you who are observing this holiday, shanah tovah, and have a happy and healthy new year.

For those of you who are not observing this holiday, have a good weekend and be advised that starting this evening, I will be away from the Internet until Sunday night at the earliest.

For those of you who want to know what it's all about, check out Judaism 101: Rosh Hashanah for a good basic introduction to the holiday.

Comments

Shanah Tovah to you and yours! And thanks for some thoughtful words that led to me deciding to post something thoughtful as well.
L'shanah tovah!

See you next year!

*mwah!*
Happy New Year!
I've totally been planning on Daven Like A Pirate day, but still have no idea how it's going to play out. ARRRRR-leinu? :-}

L'shanah tovah!
Off topic, but ... are you still planning to run for the Senate seat?
As much as I'd like to, I've come to realize that it just isn't feasible. I've got too much on my plate right now.

Or, to put it another way, I've decided not to run for the Senate so I can spend more time with my family. :-)

However, I do plan to run for re-election as a Library Trustee in Brookline next year.
yeah, i totally was thinking about how funny/horrifying it would be if Rosh Hashannah services were ocnducted in pirate speak. Um.
Most importantly Shana Tova and Gmar Chatima Tovah to the entire family. I can start repenting for this tomorrow, but I have to point out that 5770 isn't the first year of the new decade, 5771 is.

Do you know that on January 1st, 1901 there were big headlines in The New York Times. announcing the start of the 20th Century? I wonder what they would have thought if they knew it was going to be the shortest century of all time?
I know that 5771 is the start of a new decade, but 5770 is the start of the '70s. It's a subtle distinction.
My old reliable Funk & Wagnall's defines "decade" as "a period of ten years". The period from 5770 to 5779 is, in fact, a period of ten years, as was the period from 5760 to 5769. Therefore, I hold that you were correct in stating that we are entering a new decade.
I was thinking of participating in Talk Like a Pirate Day. Do you know any Somali phrases I could use? Is there enough of a Somali Jewish community that there might be a machzor in Somali?
I noticed the date thing a while ago and was hoping that if I didn't say anything, Rosh Hashana would save me from over-exposure to the pirate thing. :-)

L'shana tova!
Hey - we're living in the future!
Of course we're living in the future. Don't you remember the future? I know Mabfan does :-)
No - I've got a terrible memory. I always forget the future.
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