As we prepare to celebrate the Jewish New Year 5784, Rosh Hashana, I am grateful we are together. I am re-posting a blog from 2020 or for those of us who work with the Jewish Calendar 5781. We have come a long way, Baby!
Celebrating Rosh Hashana at a Drive-In Theater. The English year is 2020. The new Jewish Year, 5781, started this week. The year has been weird, horrific and unforgettable, but it has also achieved some positives.
I am Jewish, and turning 63 on Thursday. I like to think upper middle age, but I know it is in fact lower old age. Yet, even after all these years, I still needed to look up the definition of the Jewish calendar. Why is it year 5781? Wikipedia says, in part, the lunisolar calendar is used today predominantly for Jewish religious observances.
Next, I asked my rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein to explain and he replied, “The standard calendar dates to the birth of Jesus. The Jewish one is meant to go back all the way to Adam and Eve, using the dates in Scripture as reference points (seven days of creation, plus 40 days of the flood, and so on). And, unlike our normal calendar, the starting point is September.”
I was glad to say bye-bye to 5780 (2019-2020) and hello to 5781 (2020-2021). I was excited that we got to celebrate a new year earlier than Jan. 1.
A New Beginning
I was hoping for a bright new beginning, a change in something, or perhaps a miracle cure to end the virus. A girl can dream, right?
Day One of 5781 started great. Our temple, Congregation Shir Shalom, hosted the service at the drive-in theater. My daughter Carly and I planned to attend.
How do you dress for a drive-in holy ceremony? We had no idea what to expect. Typically, we dress up for the holidays, but nothing about this year was customary. We decided to wear casual office attire, although neither of us works in an office.
As soon as we arrived at the drive-in, masked temple members greeted us as they directed traffic. Yes, traffic. There were a lot of people attending. As we drove into the lot, we were surprised by all the cars, and more were coming.
Carly and I were guided to our parking spot by another volunteer and quickly took out our lawn chairs and gazed at the crowd. It was hard to recognize people because of the masks and vastness of the parking lot. We said hello to some members and appreciated the normalcy of greeting fellow congregants on Rosh Hashana, even though we were all covered up and at a distance.
Who is That Lady in the Mask?
To my surprise, nobody recognized me. My daughter summed it up quickly. “Mom, people are used to seeing you push Jessica’s wheelchair (my older daughter Jessica always attends Temple with us and due to Covid and her vulnerability she was unable to join us this year), your hair is now blonde (yes, it was dark brown last year), and you are wearing a mask.” OK, so I was not recognizable.
We looked to the snack bar building, and high on the roof was our beloved Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein and Cantor Arlene Frank. I felt like it was the last Beatles on the rooftop concert. Our radios were set to station 87.9 to hear our clergy as the beautiful service began.
We participated, sang and prayed as we Celebrated Rosh Hashana at the Drive-In Theater. We blew our car horns instead of raising our hands, a harmonious mixture of sound and enthusiasm.
It struck me about the wonder of human nature and how we can take all the difficulty of this past year and create a meaningful celebration to welcome the new year.
For all my readers, whether you celebrate or not, I wish you a happy, healthy and sweet year and perhaps a Buffalo Bills Superbowl win!
Thank you, Carmela Sterling, fellow parent, for the wonderful interview about disability, acceptance and making it all work!- I feel like we have known each other forever!
For More heartwarming, hopeful and inspiring stories about Raising a Child with a Rare Chromosome Deletion check out Raising Jess A Story of Hope!
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