Rosh Hashanah. The Jewish New Year. The beginning of the high holy holidays. And this year, it’s not sitting well with me.
If you don’t know it already, I’m an atheist. Actually, I describe myself as an atheist cultural Jew. I have Jewish heritage on both sides of my family and my maternal side are Holocaust survivors. You might think that this would make me more religious but, in fact, it has not. I’m one of those people who looks at the world and can’t imagine that there’s a higher power behind it all. I get pissed off by the unexplained sometimes (like, why the fuck to I have cancer!!!!????) but mostly leave it to science to figure out.
With everything going on, our whole family has forgotten about Rosh Hashanah. So much so that instead of finding a way to celebrate, I went to the theatre alone. My mom, who was watching Oliver, pulled some short ribs from the freezer from last winter and heated it up because it was the closest thing she could get to a traditional meal.
And honestly, part of the message of Rosh Hashanah is hitting me hard right now. Even rubbing me the wrong way. It’s not like the New Year we celebrate in America with champagne and confetti, but it’s the day when God decides, “who shall live and who shall die…who shall be impoverished and who shall be enriched; who shall fall and who shall rise.” And with a new cancer diagnosis, when everything is feeling out of my control already, even the idea that some God has it’s life in my hands completely out of my control, is very upsetting.
I want to be in control of my life. I know that one day I will die and I probably won’t get to decide when and how it goes down. But not now. Not this year. Not for many years to come.