Tonight starts the Jewish Holiday, Rosh Hoshanah, which means Head of the Year. It is the start of the Jewish New Year, the head of the year 5774 in the Hebrew Calendar, and considered to be a fresh start. It is customary to wish one another a Sweet New Year while eating an apple dipped in sticky, sugary honey. Aside from spending time with my family and incorporating various religious traditions over the Jewish New Year, the wishing of a Sweet New Year is the gesture which holds the most meaning to me. Eating apples coated in sweet honey and wishing a year filled with the taste of sweetness to our friends seems so simple yet profound. It also makes me feel like spreading the sweetness to not only my Jewish friends and family, but everyone. NOT in a ‘I want to push my religion on you kind of way’, but rather in a more universal sense.
Who can’t use a little sprinkling of sweetness in their personal and professional lives? Maybe I am just being sentimental, but I want everyone I know to have a Sweet New Year.
I rarely discuss religion on this blog. It just seems all too personal (kind of silly being as how I share lots of other personal stuff). The depths of my feelings on certain customs continue to evolve as a delve further into adulthood, so I just kind of keep it to my self. Not to mention, religion and business seldom should mix, so I keep the religion jibber-jabber to a minimum. Today, though, I was somewhat overcome with a need to shout Have a Sweet New Year from the rooftops.
Perhaps it is with all that is going on in this world, the growing turmoil in Syria, the emotional surge from watching Diana Nyad swim from Cuba and Florida for 53 long hours and grasped a goal she reached for four other times before succeeding, or spending a little extra Quality Time with my kids the last few days since they are off school. Talking to my kids lately has been profound. They are real people now who want to digest issues and understand them as much as their preteen minds will allow. They look to my husband, myself. and other family members for answers on current events and how to integrate themselves in this crazy world.
Yesterday, we were driving in the car and listening to CNN on XM radio, and we heard a snippet of Diana Nyad chatting with Sanjay Gupta and she said something like Today I am not gay, or a woman, or 60 some years old, but someone who reached their goal of 35 years (paraphrased because I was driving). The message was strong to me and both my kids: At the end of the day, we are all people in this world who rejoice when we meet our goals and challenges [and feel sadness just the same when something hurtful occurs]. We are people who rejoice alike.
My oldest son becomes a Bar Mitzvah this winter. He is seen as a man in the Jewish religion on this day when he turns the ripe age of thirteen. A man. It is common to incorporate a Mitzvah (good deed) Project with becoming a Bar Mitzvah. Some kids collect new and used items for nonprofits, money to help buy food at the Food Pantry, or give time to an agency of meaning for them. This summer and as fall continues, my son has been lending his time to a local chapter of the Boys and Girls Club where kids of all ages, races, nationalities, and religions come together. He is often one of a few Jewish kids at the club, and it NEVER seems to matter. Whether he is participating in a program or volunteering to help, he is just who he is: my son. All the others are who they are: kids. I hope that their kindness and compassion for one another never ends or becomes tainted.
We all deserve to have a Sweet New Year, whether we wish it now or on 1.1.2014. I don’t care what calendar you follow, I just want you to have the sweetest year ever and then make the next year even better.
Photo thanks to She Knows and their holiday recipes found here