Rosh Hashanah starts tonight. It's our New Year. (Lit. Head [of] the Year.) It'll be 5775 on the Jewish calendar. Rosh Hashanah lasts until sunset on Friday. It's also the start of the High Holy Days or 10 Days of Awe.
It ends with Yom Kippur. Which is our Day of Atonement. It is the most important/holiest day of the year for us.You're supposed to fast on that day, but people with medical conditions, little children, pregnant women, and the elderly are told to not follow that. It would be considered a sin in itself. I'm exempt from it, but feel a little odd about not fasting during that day.I try to eat just enough to have my meds, and have them work through my system. So, it's pretty light. You can't drink or chew gum either. It lasts for 25 hours. It ends with a big feast to break the fast.
For Rosh Hashanah, there are many symbolic foods associated with it. The most common one is honey and apples. We eat them to wish for a sweet new year. (Also, pretty much any sweet can have this symbolism. Like, candy, cakes, and other desserts.) I've read some communities eat fish heads or sheep heads to hope to be a leader, not a straggler, in the coming year. Pomegranates are another one. Supposedly, there are roughly 613 seeds in them, symbolizing the 613 mitzvot or commandments. Others would be pumpkins, dates, string beans, and more. Many Sephardic and Mizrahi communities have a seder or ritual dinner with these symbolic foods. Seder lit. means 'order', and most people think of Passover when they think about a seder. Because we start that off with one. It sounds very interesting, though. I might want to do something like that in the future. Some Ashkenazic families are starting to do it too. (Which is what I am.) Sephardim are Jews from Spain and the Mediterranean. A lot of South and Middle Americans identify as Sephardic, as well. Ashkenazim are Jews from Germany and Eastern Europe. Some say France is apart of it too. Mizrahim are Jews from the Middle East. Some say specifically from areas where there's a Muslim majority. They consider themselves Sephardic, but they do have some different customs/traditions.
Anyways, I finally was able to figure out where to go for High Holy Day services.We're going to another local congregation that we've known for years, but have never been a member of. If we did, it might have been for maybe a year. I know we were thinking about being apart of both of them for a while. They're a lot more friendly, and not really toxic towards us like the other group was.After tonight's service they're having a dessert oneg, in keeping with eating sweet things for a sweet new year. The desserts are already provided, so it's not like we have to bring something for a potluck.We just have to show up, really. Tomorrow after services, they're going to have tashlich. Maybe I'll get to do it this year.It's a ritual of casting our 'sins' away, usually in the form of breadcrumbs, into a body of water. A few prayers are said, and there are a couple of songs. Then, that's it. But, it's nice to go to. They said to bring a bagged lunch for ourselves. So, eventually we'll probably eat together, too. The Break-the-Fast for Yom Kippur is a potluck. I know that people go crazy with it then. Sometimes half the things are gone by the time I get through the line.I understand why though...
Yesterday, I walked down to the new Safeway for the first time. (I've been there before, just haven't walked there before.) It was pouring down rain, so I had an umbrella. It got so bad at one point, the umbrella wasn't helping that much.When I got there, I got some bananas and strawberries. We were totally out of fruit. Then, made my way to some lunch type stuff. I got a Snapple iced tea, and sesame chicken rice bowl. I kind of embarrassed myself at the checkout area, but it all worked out.I sat in their lounge/resting area to eat my lunch. It was nice.They even have a fireplace in the middle of the room. To kind of decompress from what happened at the checkout, I messed around a bit on my phone after lunch. I saw a lot of other people who were by themselves do the same. After a while of doing that, the rain subsided, and I decided to walk back home. I didn't realize how humid and warm it would be.Would have been a nice walk, if it wasn't for that. Although, it's also a bit more of a challenge considering it's mostly uphill. I made it safely back as well. The bananas and strawberries were intact still. Yay!
After that, I decided to shave my legs. Haven't done them in a long time.Since I wear jeans most of the time, I usually don't see the need to. But, if I want to feel and look nice for Rosh Hashanah and see people, I kind of do.I was able to get to a lot more areas this time, because of losing all that weight. To do a well enough job, you kind of have to do a lot of bending and twisting. A bit more difficult before because the weight was more in the way, now that it's not, it was a lot easier to do. That might be another reason why I didn't do it too often.
Later, we went to Red Lobster for dinner. It was around 8 or 8:15pm. I got the parmesan encrusted chicken Alfredo with broccoli. The parmesan on top of the chicken was lightly toasted. It was a huge chunk of chicken. Lots of pasta. Would have liked a little more broccoli. It was so much food, I felt like I barely made a dent before I was full.Although, I've been eating small meals. Didn't have much besides that rice bowl for the day, so I thought I could eat more. Apparently not that much more. (It's ok, just means I get to savor it longer.) I got a Caesar salad with it. The Cheddar Bay biscuits seemed unusually small this time. They were slightly doughier than usual, too. Like it wasn't cooked quite enough.All of it was really good, besides that. The parmesan had an interesting flavor. I wanted their cake in a jar special like usual, but apparently they don't make those anymore...I would think it'd be a hit with customers, so why axe it? They keep cutting things out of their menu. Maybe they'll introduce new things soon? Hope so. So, I got the apple crostada instead. It was really good.They had a huge scoop of ice cream over it, with caramel sauce drizzled on top. I realized after ordering it that it seemed very Rosh Hashanah-like. What with the apples and a sweet sauce. So, I guess it was even better for that reason.
A couple of days ago I decided to go through iTunesU. I was quite amazed with what they had.I thought it wouldn't be that great. Found several Jewish, linguistic, Japanese, and Asian studies in general 'collections'. The collections have lectures, sometimes worksheets, and sometimes notes. I was thinking of focusing on either linguistic or cultural anthropology in college. So, it's cool that they have at least one linguistics 'course', and several Asian studies ones. One of the Japanese collections is on the radicals in kanji characters, or basically the little parts that make up the character. Very fascinating. I know a lot of them, but never had them pointed out like this. They use a powerpoint presentation for it. For the Jewish ones, I just like to learn as much as I can about my own religion. Kind of feels like I build even more of a connection with it. I watched a few minutes of some of their lectures, and found out a lot of them were to help people who are studying to become rabbis. Really cool. Doubt I'd go down that path, but it's cool to learn similar things. One of them is also on gender roles in Judaism. Another compares those roles with Islam.
I also got some Jewish based apps. There's one called PocketTorah that has the entire Torah in it. Plus, you can listen to someone chant the portion, you can see what it would look like in the actual Torah (no vowels, and complete with calligraphy), there are translations, and one view has the 'trope' or the symbols that show you how to chant the words. It's amazing! Another has most of the Talmud translated and in Hebrew, plus the commentary. I've wanted to go over the Talmud for a while. It's basically about the laws that the rabbis made based on Torah and traditions. There are 2 more apps that have vids with lectures on the Torah portion, issues that come up, holidays, life cycle events, etc. I watched a little bit of one that was on modesty. Again, very interesting stuff. Haven't found too many specifically themed Japanese language apps. I've found several recipe type ones. And, iBooks has an interesting collection of cookbooks. I'm just really fascinated by my iPhone...
I posted a pic of Rosie that I took with my iPhone to fb and dA. Didn't get a response from fb with it.For some reason, people on dA loved it.I've had 11 faves, most of them were put into collections. When people put them into collections, usually it means they really liked them. There was one who had put it in a collection called Awesome Work, another has it under Realistic, and another has it under Fascinating Felines. I didn't expect people to like it that much...It's not that great a pic, which is why I'm thinking I might go back to the old digital camera. Still a little unsure, though.