By Dan Brosgol
New Year’s in a blizzard is never fun. Neither is New Year’s in sub-zero wind chill.
Lucky for us, we all have a chance to celebrate New Year’s this week as Jewish people the world over ring in 5775 with blasts of ram’s horns, the consumption of apples and honey, and taking two days off from school and work. Jealous yet?
Rosh Hashanah (literally “head of the year”) begins tonight at sundown and continues through Friday evening, but as an added bonus the Jewish Sabbath begins on Friday right as Rosh Hashanah is over, so it’s actually three straight days of celebration. You might notice the real-world impact of Rosh Hashanah observance with fewer cars during your commutes as most of the 200,000+ Jews in Greater Boston head to synagogue, #RoshHashanah trending in Twitter, or the 10-second Rosh Hashanah greeting on the evening news.
After a year in which Judaism and Bedford were front and center for what felt like the entire spring, the new school year has dawned, and the new Jewish year is about to dawn, with a sense of relative calm and peace in our small town. Not a little notoriety was gained from 01730’s spate of swastikas and playground games back then, but the solidarity of the community should be commended as we have emerged from that unfortunate series of events into another beautiful fall, when being a Jewish Bedfordite feels like a great thing. As I’ve asserted before, America in general, and Bedford in particular, are wonderful places to be Jewish, and following a summer when being Jewish in most of Europe was a very difficult thing (see yesterday’s New York Times piece about that), perhaps I appreciate our little corner of the world even more today than I did before.
As we kick off the new year, the sequence of eating, praying, and eating more, mixed in with apple picking and hanging out with friends, is quite enjoyable, and for this family offers a much-welcomed break after a crazy few opening weeks of school. Look for me running around Bedford in the early afternoon or picking apples in quiet orchards as I take full advantage of a mid-week break full of beautiful weather.
Shana tovah u’metukah– a sweet new year- to you all.