Thank you Frank for the Truthful Tuesday questions.
“Here in the States, yesterday was Labor Day, which means some of us got a three-day weekend. It also is the unofficial end of summer, or at least the last time many people in the US at least do anything summer related. My questions this week are focused around that, so if you live somewhere that it wasn’t Labor Day, you can just use your most recent long holiday weekend, or whatever weekend serves as your last big weekend of summer. If that weekend hasn’t happened yet, then you can discuss what you are planning.”
Did you get a long weekend this Labor Day, or did you have to work? (Specifically, I’m asking about Monday, but it could be in reference to Saturday or Sunday, if that applies to you.) Assuming you had Monday off, did you do anything special for the end of summer? If you weren’t off, is there anything you would have done?
Because I am retired, every day is a holiday without work. Well, not a paid job. Sundown last night began the holiday of Rosh Hashanah. According to tradition, it is the day G-d created Adam and Eve. Rosh Hashanah is celebrated as the beginning of the Jewish New Year. As I have stated before, I consider myself a spiritual, cultural Jew.
Typically, we go to the beach and throw stale breadcrumbs into the surf. This is to observe Tashlich (תשליך) (Hebrew: “casting off”). It involves symbolically casting off the sins of the previous year by tossing stale pieces of bread into a body of flowing water. The Pacific Ocean is my idea of a terrific body of flowing water.
Here’s where I would be considered a terrible Jew by many. My spouse had to work today, so we went yesterday morning. I said my prayers, tossed my “sins”, and was ever so grateful for the ability to do so. The beach is my soul’s happy place. I feel very connected to the universe there. It’s worth the drive for such an important day.
Last night, I was able to attend a service on a Zoom call. It was beautiful. The Rabbi made the service very meaningful. She sent out a PDF before the service so we could follow along. Her Cantor’s voice filled my heart with joy. The young man blowing the shofar did a wonderful job.
This is my first year without any family in the former generation. This is my first year without a phone call from anyone wishing me a Happy New Year. (Happily, a dear friend sent me a card which touched me so much.) This is my first year I shall try to make an apple honey cake to remember my heritage. I am trying to reclaim the day. Yesterday was very important to me.
I am also grateful for the Labor Day holiday and what it represents. When I began teaching, school started the day after Labor Day. It marked the end of summer and more importantly honored all the contributions workers made to our country.
In my area, we had a fair number of migrant children. The start of school meant many could stop working in the fields and come to school. I am going to make a huge generalization here: most of them were very eager to learn and appreciated whatever time they had in school before moving on to the next location.
Wrapping it up, yesterday was special for me. Today, I celebrate the new year. Today, I shall make a donation to give back to the world that has given much to me.
Shanah Tovah’tukah! Wishing you a year filled with prosperity, happiness, and good health both mentally and physically!