today is the final day of 5768 tonight as the sun sets a new year begins. For the first time in a very long time I am not ‘home’ for the holidays. For the first time in forever, I am going about my normal business on these holy days. I thought about taking the classes off, I know that the teachers would understand, but being in graduate school and the expense of the classes, and the knowledge that whatever is missed is missed made me feel like I needed to skip the holidays.
I hate that this is a choice I have to make. I hate that society isn’t really open and free to religions other than Christianity. I mean, obviously, yes, I am in a minority and the majority shouldn’t have to take a day off just so a small percentage of the population can celebrate. But then again, why not? Why not make it an opportunity to learn about another culture. Or maybe all I wanted was for my professors in their syllabus to acknowledge that it is a holiday for some, that it would be okay to take the day off, that it wouldn’t be an important day for the class. It’s also frustrating since last week two of my classes were cancelled because of the teachers professional schedules. I just wish the days could have overlapped I guess.
It’s also odd being once more the only Jew. I got so comfortable in the world of the J, working in a community that followed the same calender as myself. I wonder if those of you reading who are not a minority can understand how it feels, to know that you are viewed, that your religion is viewed, unconsciously though it may be, as lesser, less important. My religion is less important. These holy days are just days, like any other.
So yeah, I guess, it bums me out. That would be how to put it: it bums me out. And I don’t like that energy influencing the beginning of the year, a time I’m usually extremely happy to celebrate. And I don’t want to be bitter over the next week between Rosh Hashanna and Yom Kippor, a week that should be about releasing the tensions of the past year. A week in which you ask for forgiveness, and more importantly you forgive. Bitterness is a dangerous feeling at this time so I know I need to let it go.
I’m trying to make the days feel special. In addition to the classes and homework I have to accomplish, I am attending services tonight with my roommate. I am getting a group of friends for dinner tomorrow night to celebrate (even though few of them are Jewish). Wednesday after class I am going to walk to Riverside park and do Tashlich. And next week I’m going to attend services between classes at JTS. And attempt to fast.
Plus, I have a honey cake my Mom brought me up a few weeks ago that’s waiting in my freezer, so at least, there is a little taste of home for the holiday.