Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, begins at sundown tonight and, try as I might, I'm not feeling festive.
I was talked into being one of the co-coordinators for child care. It's a huge undertaking, but I was assured that I mostly needed to do prep work and organization and that there would be plenty of volunteers. Of course that's not the case and I will be spending more than 6 hours sitting at a table checking kids in and out while their parents, some of whom volunteered to do one whole 45 minute shift, enjoy services. Sometimes I love our hands-on congregation but other times (like now) I feel very resentful. Not a good place from which to contemplate the new year.
There's been no frenzied cooking to fill the house with rich aromas. We won't be having family over for a special meal. My husband and children will usher in the holiday at a big, festive congregational dinner, surrounded by our friends from the synagogue. I will be at work. It's funny how the calendar shakes out. Many years, Rosh Hashana falls during my September break and at at least one of the services is on a weekend. Not so this year when every evening service falls on a work night. I get two paid days each term which I can take for illness or holidays. Anything else and I have to decide whether it's worth losing a night's pay and right now, nothing is worth that. I'm taking off two nights next week (mostly so I can supervise the child care) and hoping I don't catch a bug between now and December 15. Of course if I were of the dominant American religion, none of this would matter because everything stops for Christian holidays What teacher ever has to work on Christmas or Easter?
I've always loved this time of year which feels perfect for a new beginning. Everything is changing, the light is bright and clear, and the air feels filled with promise. Despite the kvetching I'm trying very hard to find that sense of optimism and renewal this year amid all the little details and obligations. For any of my readers who are also welcoming a new year, I hope it's one of health and joy for you and your family.