Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It’s interesting that the Jewish New Year is significantly different than the secular New Year. The secular, calendar new year is celebrated extensively with many parties and revelry. We celebrate time passing, and a new beginning. But the Jewish new year is not approached the same way. There is no drinking, partying, or going crazy. The Jews take the new year pretty seriously. Think of it like the Christians’ Lent. Jews take the holiday to reflect on the last year and think about what they can do in the coming year to be a better person.
It’s interesting to note that both the secular and the Jewish new year are about resolutions, though I’ve found that they are a different breed for each version of the holiday. For the Jewish new year, people are to ponder how they can be better people in their society and community. But secular new years resolutions seem more generic and individual-based. For example, a common resolution one might make on January first, would be to lose weight, or to get a new job. Sure, these are fine things to propose, but they are more focused on the individual. But for the Jewish new year, a good resolution might be to improve your relationship with a family member or to volunteer in your community more often. Those such resolutions could be more meaningful, since they affect a larger group of people, and do not just help yourself.
As I reflect on the differences between the two celebrated new years and the different types of resolutions, it makes me think about how I can better help out my community. I have decided that for my part, I will assist with the homeless people in my neighborhood who I see everyday. (And by blogging about it, it will prove to be a sort of public “contract.”)
A few years ago I knit a scarf of rainbow colors. I didn’t have anyone in mind to give the scarf to; I just wanted to use the yarn I had. Towards the end of my knitting, I decided it would be nice to give it to one of the homeless people I frequently see. There are specifically two homeless people who I see daily at the Friendship Heights Metro. A woman who dresses in all white and a man.I have one scarf and two people to help. At first I thought I could give the rainbow scarf to the woman, but since it isn’t white, I’m not sure she would want it. So I have decided that the rainbow scarf will go to the man. After I finish that scarf, I want to make a white scarf to give to the woman.
I feel like this would be a wonderful way to improve not only myself, but also my community. It’s also conveniently the time of year where the weather starts to think about getting colder. So hopefully by the time the two scarves are completed, they will be especially useful and welcomed. While I am concerned that these two homeless people could move away or fall ill, thus creating an unpredictable timeline for myself, I like to think that my intentions are the most important part of this venture.