This Wonderful Time of Year!
This week was the New Year celebrations, in this
part of the world.
It is usually a time of reflection and
repentance…a time of celebration and awareness…and
above all, a time to get together and eat!
As a child I remember the excitement of the Jewish
New Year. The table would be set beautifully and
candles lit, the room would dance with the
reflection. The smell of the traditional dishes
that would later be devoured would fill the house
and we would wear something new; often a blouse or
new skirt, sometimes our winter shoes. The
clothes were always stiff and too warm but I loved
the smell of the starchy newness and the
excitement that winter was drawing close and the
days becoming shorter.
Once everyone had arrived, the food was ready and
the pre-dinner drinks for the adults and older
teens were drunk, we would move to the dining
room. The blessings were made; the pomegranate or
other new fruit that had not yet been eaten this
year, the apple dipped in honey that would dribble
across the plate, over the table cloth and down
your chin, the bread also dipped in honey with the
salt temporarily left aside until after the
There was always interesting conversation at the
table. My two grandmothers would frown at our
brazenness as we often guided the conversation to
shock them and make them blush. My parents always
loved a lively conversation and my father would
reach for a book of reference if he needed to win
an argument. Someone would not listen to someone
else and then everyone would yell at them and take
sides. Usually a stranger at the table would
fascinate us with a story of a different country
or tradition that we had never heard of before,
sometimes it would be a joke or magic trick.
There were always 3 courses of food during the
meal; each more delicious than the last. I don’t
ever remember wanting to leave the table. As the
youngest, I always wanted to be a part of the
conversation, not to miss a word and to be seen as
old enough to have something interesting to say.
Maybe that’s why I started telling stories!
We would say Grace After Meals and my father would
compliment my mother on the delicious food and
then tell her “I’ll keep you for another week”.
My mother would give him the look, the combination
of, don’t push your luck mate, and any chance of
an original joke?
And we would all clear the table, the girls would
wash the dishes while my mother made the coffee
and brought it out with the after 8 mints to the
living room. While we washed the dishes we would
often sing. When I think about it now, it sounds
like a storybook, but it really was like this. Of
course, there were times that we fought about
who’s washing and who’s drying, we’d get irritated
with each other and not want to help at all.
Now I create the magic of Rosh HaShanna for my own
kids. I don’t know if they’ll remember it the way
I do. I don’t know if it will seem so magical
that it�s seems almost unreal. All I can do is be
thankful for the wonderful blessings of my own
memories and hope that I can pass the stories and
Happy New Year to you all – may you have a
healthy, joyful and sweet year with fulfillment,
gratitude, abundance and lots of wonderful