Jews welcomed a new year at sundown on Wednesday. Jewish holidays go from sundown to sundown (and there was night and there was morning) and are dated according to a lunar calendar, which is why the Jewish holidays land on different dates each year on the international calendar. Rosh Hashanah is not a champagne and party kind of holiday, more a time for reflection on the past year and what improvements you should make in the coming year. I certainly have a lot to think over from the past year, especially the last several months since the fire. Experiencing such a difficult event does put things into perspective, though, and I can say that I’m very ready for a new year and new beginning.
Even if I didn’t celebrate Rosh Hashanah, there’s something about the month of September that feels like a new beginning. I guess it’s all those years of starting school with new clothes and new supplies that give it a ‘new year’ feeling. I grew up mostly in the Midwest, so September really did usher in fall weather, unlike Austin, which still gets 100+ degrees for days on end. But the weather is finally cooling down to the low 90s, so I know autumn is coming. It’s the beginning of a new school year for many and with my own son and daughter back at college, I feel the need for some new clothes and new supplies. The insurance check for my personal property has finally come, so I even have some money to spend. Of course, the amount is the depreciated value (minus 30%-50%) and minus the rental house and furniture deposits, but it’s enough to get started.
The tricky thing about buying furniture this time around is that I’m buying for a new beginning in a new house. I just don’t have the new house yet. In fact, I don’t even know what the new house will look like exactly. But never mind. I’ll buy the bare necessities for the few months I’ll be in my rebuilt house. The couch and armchairs and rugs may not go with the impersonal beige color that will cover the walls, but that will give people viewing the house something to critique (what was the owner thinking?!), which will put some of those potential buyers in a good mood. “Now if I were decorating this room . . .” Fine by me, just buy the house, so I can start my new beginning in a new house as soon as possible!
In the meantime, I begin the new Jewish year in someone else’s house. I don’t have my holiday paraphernalia or the recipes for the honey cake and challah I usually bake. I could find some online, but my pantry isn’t very well-stocked anyways. I know I’m leaving within the month, so I’m eating down my food supplies. This holiday is a little out of sorts, but I don’t mind. As I look back over the year, I know how far my family and I have come since the last time we celebrated Rosh Hashanah. My daughter is happily settled at her college, my son seems to be over the worst of his depression issues and is back at college, too, and we have all survived losing many of our belongings and being displaced by a house fire. May the coming year be as sweet as apples and honey!