La La How The Life Goes On

Happy Jew Year!

Posted on: September 5, 2013

It’s Rosh Hashanah, homies. That means it’s time to party like it’s 5774! I wish you and yours a sweet and happy and abundant new year. Even if you aren’t Jewish. Why? Because I think New Years are awesome.

As you know, we also celebrate Chinese New Year Chez Jones wherein one eats large quantities of Chinese food, sets off illegal quantities of fireworks, and wears more red clothing than is advisable for anyone with my skin tone.  We also (obvi) celebrate Scottish New Year, otherwise known as Hogmanay, wherein one drinks whiskey to excess then sings quasi-melancholy songs about various isles, lochs and battles versus English kings. All while remembering to cook the steak, kidney and liver pie for tomorrow’s lunch. Which will include more whiskey. 

Yes, the Jones family does New Year like a boss.

Maybe it’s because I’ve had more than my share of “new beginnings” and whatnot that I just love anybody’s new year. If y’all Jains and Zoroastrians will tell me when your new year arrives, I will be there with full brass fanfare to celebrate with you. I love the notion, intellectual fiction or not, that we get to Try Again, Do Over, Start Fresh. Obviously I could Try Again, Do Over, Start Fresh next Tuesday simply because it’s Tuesday and I’ve decided. But where is the communal satisfaction in that? Where is the collective joy in that? Where, most importantly, is the WHISKEY? Because–PRO TIP–drinking alone simply because it’s Tuesday is precisely NOT the way to begin a new year or a new anything, son.

So this new year we are at our new temple. We’ve gone Reconstructionist, which is precisely the right way for us to go. (Look up Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist for more info. My name ain’t Google). Bambina, my sweet and philosophical deep-thinking 9 year old is pretty much atheist. Not committed to picketing your church or anything. But definitely not shy about telling you why God Is A Fairy Tale. As I’ve said before in these pages, I have zero inclination to talk her out of her religious convictions, or lack thereof.  As long as she is respectful of others and their beliefs, I am respectful of hers. Especially because she really has thought it through, continues to question, and isn’t just parroting something she heard somewhere.

So luckily we are at a temple where this is okay. Questioning is good. Encouraged. Applauded. Where the notion of Jewish Values is not necessarily tied to a belief in God or to a strict adherence to laws of observance. When we first entered this temple, no fewer than 6 people walked right up to us within the first 6 minutes. A person a minute. Think about that. And that’s not some temple program to welcome the fresh meat. That is just the kind of place it is. You see someone new, you say hi. Like a normal person. Like a friendly person. Even the kids talked to Bambina. Just tween grunts like, “you come here before?” or “I like your shoes” or whatever. But those kids demonstrated more Jewish Values in those 6 minutes than I’ve seen in some temples in years. And we were sold. Also because the temple is fully diverse. There are families of all kinds in our temple. Oh, I know your temple is great too. With that one black kid you can point to in order to prove how diverse you are. But how do I tell my Chinese-born kids that they are as Jewish as anyone else when NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON in a 400-family temple looks like them? I can’t. And, for the record, if it’s 2013 and your temple is mostly white–you are doing something very, very wrong. Really. Whether you are just not trying, or whether you subconsciously or actively just prefer it that way, you are doing something wrong and your temple will be left behind in the grand future of multicultural Jewry. I just scooped the Forverts, because you heard it here first.

Our new year is so multicultural we had Chinese Rosh Hashanah food tonight. Matzo ball soup, chopped liver, etc to start. All the greatest hits! Then, because honey nauseates every last one of us and Bambina claims to abhor the killing of chickens, we ixnayed the roast honey chicken, etc and had sweet-and-sour vegetarian chicken with rice noodles. Deeeeee-licious! And everyone was happy….Especially the pardoned chicken.

So here’s to new beginnings. Fresh starts. Do overs. If you need one, I am happy to share my new year with you. Please accept this honorary 24-hour Welcome to the Tribe pass. First, eat some apples and honey. Second, offer an embarrassed tsk tsk about That Anthony Weiner Mishigas. Then, start your new thing knowing that you have a Jew or two in your corner with you.

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