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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Calendar, a New Year

"Happy New Year,  The Christian Quarter" Graffiti, photograph, copyright 2013 by Heddy Abramowitz

Though the secular calendar runs much of Israel, businesses, many public events, and certainly all contact with people abroad,  the New Year is kind of a wobbly event in Israel. Even for the secular.

The Jews celebrate the New Year in a religious way at Rosh Ha Shana, with much internal soul-searching, personal accounting, and public communal confession. It is far away from the frivolous and alcohol-fueled celebrations that those of us from abroad associate with New Year's Eve. Restaurants and bars are full, joviality and commerce pushing this transplanted holiday into our lives, an awkward fit that is taking its time to root in inappropriate soil. The newish, not so Jewish, shoots are taking hold.

I have written a personal remembrance about the Jewish New Year here, and it relates to my father's WWII experiences as a an American GI at the war's end. A little heavy. Hey, light doesn't come too easy at times.

But, being human,  it is hard not to feel a rush of hope as the calendar and our check-writing changes to a new digit, unfamiliar at first, and eventually routine. Hope springs eternal, a new calendar, a new month, and brand new page. A new canvas.

So with many good wishes to all who celebrate this New Year, may 2014 help us create upon that canvas only good.

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