Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Holy Holidays, Batman!

Next week is Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. For the past couple of years the holiday has fallen on a weekend; this year it starts Monday at sundown and goes until Wednesday at sundown. Despite having used up all of my paid-time off during my maternity leave I will be taking the two days off work. I am actually rearranging my schedule and sending AK to day care on both Monday and Friday next week so I can come into the office to make up some hours.

While Rosh Hashana is a celebratory holiday, involving apples and honey (a combination we really should eat year round), family meals and the like, you still spend a significant amount of time in services. In reality, the services are what the holiday is all about. Being as how we have two small children, it poses a challenge for the Hoos and me. We both want to be in the service (okay, maybe want is a strong word - we both feel that it is important to be in the service), but we also know that it will be impossible for LP to sit through the entire thing.

We know it is too much to ask a 2 year old to spend 2-3 hours sitting still, listening to people sing in a language she can't understand. No soundless toy can keep a kid occupied in one place for that long. So we will take turns going in and out of the service on Tuesday. On Wednesday our niece and nephews will be in attendance and will hopefully keep an eye on their little cousin. It won't be the perfect way to attend synagogue, but we are going to do our best to make it work.

Other people make the decision to send their children to day care as if it is a regular day so that they can be fully focused during the services. I am not, in any way, trying to judge those people - they do what they need to do. However, the Hoos and I both feel it is important for LP and AK not to go to school. They need to start learning now that being Jewish does mean being different in some ways and and Rosh Hashana (and Yom Kippur the week after) are our high holy holidays. We don't work or go to school in order to celebrate, pray, atone, etc.

I am sure neither one of our daughters will get much out of the services this year, but I do hope that they will start to see the holidays as an intrinsic part of themselves and their Jewishness.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

I'm not Jewish, but I agree with your approach entirely. We've taught our children, since they were small, the importance of attending services and we've made similar sacrifices (one in, one out, etc.) to make sure they grow up understanding our values.

I think it's awesome that you and the Hoos are focused on imparting those values to your girls, even if they're young. It's those traditions, that start when they're too little to remember anything else, that make the difference when they're not too little anymore, in my opinion.

Happy Holidays to you!