Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Back to the old country

I am heading down to New York today, the annual trek to "the old country" for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It's a time when Jews from all over converge on New York, hence my memories of the holiday usually include a big traffic jam on the way down.

Tomorrow is the day, and before I continue, I want to wish everyone a happy, healthy year that hopefully brings more peace to our troubled world.

Of course my parents are foremost in my memory. We had a tradition. My mother set a beautiful table the night before, and my father loved to cut the round challah and wish everyone a New Year with no round edges, just like the challah. We ate it with honey and had sweet honeydew melon, all for a sweet New Year.

We went to services, where everyone was all dressed up, then to the local Greek coffee shop for lunch with cousins who had also attended, then hung out at the apartment for a little while before proceeding on to dinner with my father's side of the family.

I have followed the tradition as closely as possible, with gaps when I was in the hospital or unable to go into a crowded place. Joe was unable to go because he was in college in Maine, and I missed him, with memories of the two young brothers walking ahead of us in their similar suits, the rest of us behind them  remarking on how cute they were.

I was almost going to skip the services at the 92nd Street Y this year. They have modernized, and the cousins who usually go decided to go elsewhere, though we will try to meet for lunch. I thought we would just get together, have a round challah, and say our own prayers. I was sad about it, but with the cousins now leaving, and the price for tickets very high, I figured that's just the way it was going to be.

I ran it by Katie and she said that it was fine, but somehow I didn't get around to asking Ben until a couple of weeks ago. I just figured that it would be OK with him too. I was surprised, and also touched, when he said that actually he would like to go because it keeps him connected to his Jewish roots.

I panicked. The Y fills up. The subscription manager would never just sell me the tickets for the one day at this point. He would say he'd have to discuss it with the board. It would be the equivalent of ruining Christmas.

I called as soon as I could and made my plea, and he was very nice and gave (well, sold) me the seats.


It's supposed to be sunny, as it always seems to be on Rosh Hashanah. We'll do our version of the tradition: services, lunch, then Betsy and Michael's, now in Queens. Family dinner with Marge and Bill on Saturday.

And then, true confessions, we have tickets for the Sunday matinee of "The Book of Mormon" on Broadway before we head back. It's kind of an odd combination of events, but what can I say. We were going to be in the city anyway, so it seemed to work out. I think my parents would approve.


Diane said...

I have also been thinking of our parents, the whole family, and all of the traditions (including the lime green jello mold - I have mom's recipe on a small scrap of green paper.) Enjoy the trip down memory lane. Most of all, we send our love and wishes for a healthy and sweet 5772!
Diane and David

Meryl said...


Sweetness and joy to you, Katie, Joe and Ben for the new year. I have a feeling it's gonna be a great one for you!


Nelle said...

Wishing you a Happy New Year filled with sweetness and good health.