Happy Jewish New Year!
L’Shana Tova! This weekend is Rosh Hashanah, or the Jewish New Year. Welcome to 5781! I am excited to celebrate with my family this weekend.
Embracing my “Jewish side” is not something I fully appreciated until I was in my early 20s and visited Israel. Being half-Jewish and half-Christian, it was much easier to relate to the mainstream Christian holidays. Thank G-d for Rugrats where I learned about the history of Passover and Hannukah!
When I was 20, I went on a Birthright trip – a free trip for people in their 20s who are of Jewish descent. Like my ancestors, I traveled the desert in Israel for 10 days with 50 other people; you can imagine the debauchery that my new friends and I got into, but we also formed an important bond. It was the first time I was exposed to Jewish culture outside of the few other Jewish kids in my school, Bar/Bat Mitvahs, or Passover Seder at my grandparents. Seders are long and you eat bitter herbs – not as much fun as Christmas is for a kid! I didn’t grow up in an overly religious house, so we didn’t go to temple, or pray in Hebrew, but going on Birthright helped me understand the cultural importance of being Jewish. I made connections with people who came from a mix of conservative backgrounds and even met other people who were “just Jewish” like me.
For me, being Jewish means continuing the celebrations that my family has done for thousands of years. I have great memories of my grandmother calling me to wish me a happy new year and in true Jewish Grandmother fashion saying, “I pray you get married this year.”
This year, I’m planning to make this delicious-looking Apple Honey Cake: https://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/honey-apple-cake/ to celebrate my heritage. I might even try to make a Challah, but the last time was a disaster! What will you do to celebrate your heritage?
Happy New Year to those celebrating this weekend! I hope you have a sweet and prosperous New Year.
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