Aug 8 2011
Jews remember the destruction of the Temple on this sad day.
Tonight is the beginning of the holiday of Tisha B’Av, the 9th of the Hebrew month of Av. And if you thought Yom Kippur was serious, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Tisha B’Av is the most solemn day of the Jewish year. It commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, and is a day of mourning and fasting.
You can read more about the history and observances of Tisha B’av here.
So our offices are closed tomorrow. We hope your Tisha B’Av is meaningful, and we’ll see you back here on Wednesday morning.
Nov 26 2010
I'll be enjoying at least two of these this year.
My family rarely celebrates Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving anymore.
It all started when my dad was in his first few years as a doctor and could never have the day off. We’d celebrate on Friday. But then we had about a 20 year run of Thanksgiving on Thursday, until I met my husband and felt the pull of being with his family on the holiday too.
So, we started doing Thanksgiving on Friday again. In fact, my brother- and sister-in-law are celebrating with her family on Thursday, we’re celebrating with my family on Friday, and we’re celebrating with my husband’s family on Saturday. Try to say that three times fast.
Beyond the fact that I actually don’t really like turkey, I kind of love having lots of Thanksgiving. Of course it’s somewhat fraught with drama (what’s Aunt Helen going to knock over this year?) but it’s also just a great time. You get to see everyone. My daughter gets to play with her cousins. And my husband’s family, I hear, is even planning on having a karaoke party between the meal and dessert. It’s a day (or two, or three) filled with family and love and plenty of food.
As such, I love that we’re celebrating on Shabbat this year. Shabbat’s supposed to be all about rest, joy, and holiness. And though I wouldn’t call two 20-person meals restful necessarily, to me there’s not much more holy or joyful than family, in all its crazy wonder.
So this week, instead of Shabbat Shalom, I wish you a Shabbat Sh…anksgiving.
Nov 23 2010
When I was in the second grade, we put on a play for the school about the beginnings of the holiday of Thanksgiving.
From my second grade recollection, a woman named Sarah Hale convinced President Lincoln that the people of the United States needed a special, dedicated day to appreciate the bounty of this land. (Perhaps that’s just my spin on it–I played Sarah Hale. I’m told I was very convincing.)
But according to Wikipedia (perhaps a more reliable source than second-grade-me), Hale did convince Lincoln that nationalizing Thanksgiving was important. At the time, it was celebrated on different days in New England, from October through January, and not really at all in the South.
I’ve long felt a kinship of sorts with Sarah Hale. She convinced the president that it’s important to have a holiday where we take a step back and appreciate our lives. What an amazing concept. A whole day, nationwide, that’s dedicated to saying thanks. Thanks to our parents, who changed our diapers and taught us how to get along with other people. Thanks to our friends, who keep us sane and make us laugh. Thanks to our spouses, who love us for who we are and tolerate our quirks. Thanks to our children, whose wonder at the world around them helps us remember what life’s all about.
Judaism is filled with moments to say thank you. It’s written throughout the prayers we say, the blessings for food, wine, and holidays, and the philosophy of our sages. There’s even a psalm that basically says: It’s good to give thanks (to God). Maybe Sarah Hale was channeling Jewish thought when she convinced Lincoln that we should nationalize Thanksgiving. Because it’s good to give thanks. So, thanks Sarah. Thanks Abe. Thanks Judaism.
And thanks to all of you.