Rosh Hashanah for Gentiles
Get ready for the New Year!
“What,” you say to yourself, “I couldn’t have partied that hard on Labor Day, and woken up on December 31st?!?”
Of course not, you silly Gentile! I meant get ready for the Jewish New Year – y’know, the one that in no way applies to you!
“Well, smart-ass,” you reply. “If it doesn’t apply to me, why am I getting ready for it?”
I have to confess. You have a good point there.
So put down your mayonnaise and golf clubs and let me start again. Tonight is Rosh Hashanah, commonly known as the Jewish New Year.
I’m sure you have many questions like: Why does the Jewish New Year fall on a different date than the normal one; what is the significance of this holiday; and how is this mysterious Jew able to know the questions inside my own head? I can’t answer that last one until you go through a lengthy conversion process, but let’s tackle the other two, shall we?
Much like Jews have their own conception of whether or not a deli is a “real” deli, Jews also have our own calendar. It’s lunar-based – not solar-based like the Gregorian calendar that is so popular with whiter people. So while the Jewish holidays do fall at the same set times on the Hebrew calendar, they float a bit when you try to sync it up with a good old-fashioned American one. Sort of like when you try to convert a document from Wing Dings to Times New Roman – you’re always gonna get a few glitches. This year, Rosh Hashanah is falling earlier than it has since 1899. Isn’t that interesting? No? Hmm, let’s move on to something else.
Now, I know you non-Jews like to celebrate New Years with getting drunk and getting drunk and getting drunk, but we Jews know how to party too. We eat apples, but get this: we dip them in crystal meth! I mean, honey. We dip apples in honey. We do that for a sweet new year because we are a metaphorically unimaginative people. It gets pretty crazy. Last Rosh Hashanah I must have eaten like a dozen apples!
We also blow a shofar. That’s a ram’s horn horn. That’s not a typo. It’s a horn made out of a horn. I guess I just realized where horns got their name from. How about that? Pretty cool. The horn blasts ring in the New Year, kinda like, y’know, cooler noisemakers.
But the party has to end sometime. Rosh Hashanah isn’t all apples and cool noisemakers. Rosh Hashanah is also intended to begin a period of self-reflection about personal sins against God and humanity. A period of personal accounting leading up to Yom Kippur – a day of intense prayer and fasting for forgiveness. I know there’s nothing funny about this last part, but that’s because I started snarfing honey-dipped apples about ten minutes ago, and I’m already pretty much tripping balls.
Read the Man Cave take on Purim and other holidays with us in 3 Explanations of Christmas Phenomena That Ruin The Fun and Arthur’s Day: The World’s Best Corporate Holiday. Want to celebrate a holiday in your own culture? Write about it for MCD!