Sunday, September 24, 2006

Rosh Hashanah in Brooklyn

Happy new year! It's that time of year in Brooklyn when Hasidim flood the streets with shofars: Rosh Hashanah. I was accosted three times in one block on my way home from the bodega down the street by eager young men in their black suits and hats: "Excuse me sir, are you Jewish?" If I was to answer in the affirmative, they would say a prayer for me and blow the shofar, the ram's horn, as a blessing. That's my understanding of it anyway.

This year, everyone was very polite. All three groups (usually pairs) wished me a nice day when I told them I wasn't Jewish. But last year, I had a guy ask me if I was sure. "You really look Jewish," he smiled. He probably thought I was trying to avoid my religious responsibility.

I've heard some more liberal Jews prefer not to identify themselves as Jewish when the Orthodox come out -- it can, obviously, make a short trip either full of blessings or very tedious, depending on your attitude. I've also heard that it's a way for Jews to proselytize (in a way): convincing backslidden Jews to become more observant is the only kind allowed.

This year (Jewish Year 5767), Rosh Hashanah falls from sunset September 22 to nightfall September 24.


Blogger Screaming Annie said...

Stop denying it. You know that you really are a chosen person.

12:28 AM  

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