Most of us will give some thought to New Year’s Resolutions. Let me suggest three:
1. Spend sometime thinking about what you value in your heritage. Try writing it down.
2. Tell your partner what you wrote and listen to what he/she wrote. Try to really understand what is the same and what is different.
3. Ask yourself what practices, behaviors and sayings communicate the ethnic or unique aspect of your values. Share these with each other.
Did something interesting or challenging emerge? Email or call me and tell me about it.
I wish you all a very happy, healthy 2009! May we all be better to each other than we even conceived possible!
Just for fun let’s review the Jewish new years – there are four.
The first of Elul, approximately August, is the new year for tithing – giving cattle to be sacrificed at the Temple in Jerusalem. The Orthodox Union site says this, “since the Temple has not yet been rebuilt, this law has no practical application.”
The first of Tishrei, the month in which the High Holidays fall, usually September. It is the new YEAR and we count the years from this month. We are still in the Jewish year 5769.
The fifteenth of Shevat (Tu b’Shevat) is the new year of the trees and falls in either February or March. This is a designation also associated with tithing, but this one is for trees. In more recent times the holiday has come to be a time for planting trees, restoring the environment and mystical seders.
The first of Nisan, approximately April. This is the month about which Moshe was commanded in Egypt, “This month shall be considered by you as the First of the Months; it is the First for you of the months of the year.” So it is the first month although it is not in the beginning of the year. Historically, this was the month of the Exodus from Egypt, the beginning of Jewish national history. This is the point from which the reign of kings is determined and is sometimes called the New Year of the kings.