What To Do in 5773
Dr. Ruth, Shmuley Boteach, Mayim Bialik, Shalom Auslander, and 23 more on ensuring a meaningful year
Niki Russ Federman, fourth-generation owner of Russ and Daughters, New York
My resolution for 5773 is to sit my tuchus down and meditate. When I have a regular practice of watching my mind, I find that I become more self-aware and compassionate, and a little less meshugenah. For that kind of benefit, I think, “Why don’t I do this every day, even if only for 10 or 20 minutes?” It’s not called a “practice” for nothing.
Doreen Carvajal, author
True confession: The first time I celebrated Rosh Hashanah was when I was a busy city reporter in my twenties and received an inopportune jury summons from the Philadelphia courts to serve that day. I had no idea then about my Catholic family’s secret Sephardic Jewish identity, but citing the holiday helped me escape duty for the moment. The Philadelphia courts knew something I obviously didn’t. They sent a new summons for Dec. 24. I served.
Now Rosh Hashanah has fresh meaning for me as I pursue a quest to restore our Jewish identity like some old farmhouse, stone by stone. I plan to celebrate this new year by working on the neglected foundation, reading the Hebrew Bible from Genesis to Deuteronomy. Another confession: It is the first time.
Shalom Auslander, writer
It was close.
So, so close.
I almost made it this year: to a new freedom, to a new benchmark of sanity and recovery. And then I called my shrink for an appointment.
He is a wise and caring man, but an Orthodox man as well; I forgive him this bit of insanity since he has cured so much of mine.
Can I see you next Monday? I asked.
Well, he replied, the good news is that I don’t have any other appointments that day.
Great, I said. What’s the bad news?
He laughed again.
The bad news, he said, is that it’s Rosh Hashanah.
Fuck, I thought.
Not just because it meant he wasn’t going to be seeing patients. But because I’d almost forgotten.
I’d almost, for the first time in my life, made it through the High Holidays without remembering that they were upon us. For me, this has always been a time of year marked by tension and stress—about God, about death, about punishment, about family. It is the Eseret Yemei Diarrhea, and most years I live on Immodium and Pepcid from Labor Day until October.
And this year, I’d almost made it.
I’d almost forgotten.
That is my goal: religious oblivion. Cultural unlearning.
That is where I will find meaning for next year: in, at last, forgetting.
I pressed the phone against my forehead and sighed.
OK, I said. How’s Wednesday?
Dipping apples in honey for Rosh Hashanah? Here’s a guide to picking the best ingredients for a sweet new year.