How to Celebrate Rosh Hashana with The Dude

So, yeah, the cat’s a bit out of the bag in that you now know this Dude is Jewish. It’s been mulled over at CollegeCandy.com that my identity will slowly be revealed over the course of the next eight seasons. This overarching yet underlying storyline throughout all Dude posts will be entitled: “How I Met The Dude.” And yes, when we option it for film rights we’ll get Neil Patrick Harris to play me. After all, he plays one hell of a straight man (yeah, that’s right, it’s a multi-layered joke. Self high five!).
Note to readers: The above paragraph has not been approved by CC staff and at no time is The Dude’s identity going to ever be revealed in any way *wink wink*
Rosh Hashana is the beginning of the New Year according to the Jewish calendar. That’s right, Jews have their own calendar. Because we’re more than 3,000 years older as a civilization than Christians. Y’all came along and created your own calendar and stamped your own 1 AD on it. So, while it’s the year 2011 for you, the chosen folks are starting year 5772. Rosh Hashana is also the start of the High Holidays for practitioners of the Jewish faith that culminates with the most sacred day of the year, Yom Kippur (that day all of you goys get a day off from classes for but can’t pronounce). Yom Kippur is known as the Day of Atonement. For the entire last month of the Jewish calendar leading up to Rosh Hashana you’re required to begin mulling over all the crap you’ve done in the past year that you should feel the need to atone for. It’s like baking a lasagna comprised of 12 different kinds of guilt. (Editor’s note: that sounds awfully Catholic to us…)
Now, I’m not from an Orthodox family. Mildly conservative might be stretching it even. With each successive generation the devotion to practicing every ritual and attending services every Saturday has diminished. Maybe it’s a sign of the times, maybe we’re just bad Jews, and maybe both. I don’t know. This is just how it is with my family history. But when it comes to the High Holidays, we get our yarmulkes on our heads and our talit on our shoulders. We dig deep and we dig into the spirit of the holiday: getting together with a lot of relatives, eating a lot of food, partaking of the holy sacrament and gossiping!
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my family’s nothing but gossip-mongers. I admit it freely. If there’s a secret, there isn’t.
Now my favorite Rosh Hashana story deals with my sophomore year of college in ____. Not a great time for my family. My sister’s father wasn’t on speaking terms with my sister but he’s best friends with my Pop Pop, so he was invited. My brother in-law’s mother had some kind of a thing between my sister and her husband, my parents were dealing with fallout over my grandpa’s declining health — basically half of the room was pissed at the other half. If it were to be properly written, one would describe the atmosphere as: “a room wrought with tension.” (If I give off the impression that my family tree has many boughs, it’s because we do. Our family motto is: “Cats only get nine lives but you can have as many divorces as you want!”
Coming home from ______, I’d had full privy to all the skinny. Like I said, my family likes to talk about each other behind their backs (and really, what family doesn’t, right?). Now, granted, I was a little worse for wear when I entered the festivities that my parents had “volunteered” to throw. After all, I was back in ______ and had reconnected with some of my high school pals. Hey, being hungover to a family gathering isn’t really a sin (right?). Or at least not a rarity so *shrugs shoulders.* My headache was expecting the worse: tantrums, battery and possibly an awkward physical exchange (I’d use the term “fight” except I don’t think anyone in my family has purposefully made contact with another human being with the intent to injure).
As I watched and waited for the powder keg to erupt I…kept waiting…and waiting…and then I noticed something: no one was yelling at each other (more than usual). Everyone who wasn’t on speaking terms was actually conversing. Those who’d sworn revenge against each other were telling old stories and laughing. LAUGHING! And that’s when it hit me. What was remarkable about my family, and I think is indicative of a lot of Jewish families, hopefully yours too, was that we found a way to cherish one another despite all the bull*hit going on.
When it comes to family there’ll always be major disagreements and shameful acts (we’ve had dognappers, embezzlers, mafia ties, murder rumors and girlfriend beaters). But no matter the personal grudge, no matter the fact that tomorrow the blood feud will be as fiery as yesterday, on this day of celebration, we unite and love each other. For better or worse. We embrace denial and revel in nostalgia. That’s my favorite Rosh Hashana story: Discovering how insurmountable our power to love each other is. I’ll never forget it. Because we’re family. We have to try. At least try. As long as we put in the effort, there’s a spark of encouragement that everything can be atoned for.
A new year brings hope for reconciliation. A new year brings hope for new love. There’s a new chance to make amends with others and with ourselves. May this New Year bring you more blessings than curses.
Shana Tova,
The Dude

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In Our Makeup Bag: SUPER by Perricone 3-Minute Facial
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