a gay black woman's discovery of her jewish self

What Are Your Rosh Hashanah Plans?

Posted on: September 11, 2012

Last year Miriam and I hosted Rosh Hashanah dinner for about 15 friends. We dipped glittered apples in honey and ate a lot of dried fruits and welcomed in the New Year with friends. Hosting people in our home for holidays and Shabbat is one of my favorite things, but it’s exhausting. It’s that kind of blissful tired that only comes with saying goodbye to the final lingering guest and looking around the apartment at the few wine glasses that weren’t washed by gracious friends who helped with clean up and realize that it’s after 1AM.

We always flop down on the couch, Miriam with a scotch in hand me with a glass of wine, smile deliriously and congratulate ourselves on a job well done. Realizing your apartment is filled with friends on the holiday, feeding these friends and stumbling over blessings and traditions with people are are invested in celebrating Jewish holidays in our own way is completely fulfilling. I would say that it’s one of the top three things I love about Judaism.

I can’t imagine what the holidays would be like if I was single. So when I read Melanie Notkin‘s article in Kveller about being single during the holidays I felt a slight pang of guilt. Should we have hosted this year? This year we’re going to friend’s homes and will pick up with Shabbat dinner after the holidays, we’ll be sure to reach out to our single friends.

An excerpt of Notkin’s piece is below.

As many moms anxiously prepare for the upcoming High Holidays, busy with long grocery shopping lists, menu planning, and getting their children prepared, singles are going through their own anxiety.

For many, Rosh Hashanah marks yet another year single, another year not yet a mom or dad. In 2011, fully one third of Jewish adults living in Manhattan, where I live, were single, never married. And among many of them, the conversations leading up to the holiday season, especially when weekday holidays make it tough to travel to see family, are sometimes filled with shoulder shrugs and sighs: “What are you doing for Rosh Hashanah?” “I don’t know, you?” “I don’t know…”

Singles don’t always have a natural solution of where and how to spend the holidays. For example, even though I had been an active member of my community, I’ve spent my share of holidays without plans, unable to drive to see my nephew and nieces for dinner and without a local invitation. It’s an ironic twist to my secular life, which is very social and full of extraordinary experiences.

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