Monday, September 17, 2012

Happy 5773


Yahrzeit candles.
Where once there was one to light, now there are too many.

Happy New Year. Today the Jewish New Year of 5773 begins. Yesterday four Roths got together to celebrate. No painting was done. Instead, we ate hamburgers and chips on the back deck talking and laughing, being together and missing those of us who moved too far away to come home.

 Eighty degrees, sunshine on leaves rimmed with red, the ambiance for this special occassion was delightful. I was going to make the traditional brisket with potatoes slowly roasted with chopped onions, celery, carrots, and a liquid mix of beer and barbecue sauce, but there were just the four of us. Being that one of us was a teenager, his nana opted to make something a teenager might prefer. To fancy up the menu, I made caramelized onions instead of slicing a Burmuda. They were a hit. But I told Zac, if anybody asks, you had brisket. Hamburgers on a High Holly day is outrageous. We hugged on it.

After the late lunch, we lighted Yahzeit candles and said a prayer in remembrance of family members who had passed away. There were quite a few--enough that if we lit one per person, we'd have a fire hazard, so we opted for four to cover the seven who are missed. Then we walked down to the lake, each with a slice of challah bread, to throw our sins in the water to be cast off...and snapped up by creatures of the deep.

The fish swarmed the dock to feast on road rage, chip gluttony,procrastination, candle stinginess and hamburger cover ups as soon as the tidbits hit the water. This walk is called the Tashlikh walk. I had never heard of it as a kid. It took getting to be a nana, me brushing up on all the holidays, and us moving to a lake to put this lovely tradition into play.

The Tasklikh is one of my favorite things to do on Rosh Hashanah. The intimacies shared at the lake, the recollections they bring to mind and the discussion of values binds young to old. I'm sorry the rest of the Roth gang wasn't there. They were missed.

As the world has grown bigger, family gatherings have gotten smaller. It's  sad. As the world is growing into a global community, family units are breaking up with the expansion as the economy takes members where ever they have to go to make a living. That is good, but not as good  as when aunts and uncles and cousins, parents and grandparents filled a small house on Elmhurst, down the block from the synagogue, wall to wall with generations of warmth, total loyalty and love no matter what on the holidays. It's a bitch actually as traditions die.

Before Sunrise, Peace



25 comments:

  1. Nice lake, nice traditions Happy New Year! My daughters have also moved, chasing the economy and landing where the jobs are, one in Texas and the other in Washington DC. I hate it.

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    1. Me too. Ellis too. I grew up with a lot of family round me, mothering me, bothering me, telling me to try strange foods like brisket, sit up straight, don't slurp the soup, but then there was the klatch around the living room or on the back porch or in the yard with aunts and uncles telling stories, stories that never got written down, while we kids played hide and seek in grandma's very scary basement with thick brick walls, a little, dark kitchen for making dandelion wine and an oil furnace that glared. There was lots of cousin fun, laughter, serious talk in a foreign tongue and always fruit and cake. I had a rich childhood. My children had a rich childhood. My grandchildren do not. They've only met each other once.

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  2. Happy New Year 5773,Linda!
    The world is fragmented and holidays slip away without, sometime ,a real chance of meeting.
    But when there is love even in the days that are not the "exact"birthday,or exact other feast, sooner or later, the various pieces of the same family-heart, meet happy together.
    Peace to you and your whole family!
    Rita

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    1. thank you. I will have forgotten what year it is according to the Jewish calendar by next year, but I won't forget the four of us eating an outrageous holiday meal on the deck, promising to lie about it and then traipsing down to the lake to throw our guilt and shame of the offense to the fish. It was lucky this year that the holiday came on Sunday, Sundays is our day for all secular holidays that may fall during the week. It's the only time we can manage to get together. Peace to your family too Rita and especially to the lovely Alice.

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  3. Replies
    1. Thank you Roger, maybe something great will happen this year--like I'll finish Zac. He didn't appreciate looking like a zombie yesterday:-)

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  4. Great post, LW...I must agree. Families used to stay in one area and also they were so big! When I was a girl it was not unusual for every house to have one old aunt or uncle who just sat in the dining room playing cards alone all day---simply because they had no where else to live and the family took care of them. It was the norm! Families used to live in one place forever---I am a little envious of my facebook high school friends who still live where we grew up. It would be so cool to still live there with some old resident aunt or uncle in the farm kitchen! Happy New Year---I am glad that your family knows how much they mean to you and that you care about ceremony. They'll always remember it...you are an outstanding Nana! :)

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    1. Thanks Celeste. I imagine it is quite different not living in a place where you grew up. We always talked about, but never moved away. I think that's why we enjoy this new tradition we've started every August of a reunion with 'kids' we grew up with. The folks you pick up in adulthood through various interests, are wonderful, but there's not that bond that comes from being together in your formative years.

      Listening to the older relatives talk about the world and what was going on in their lives, gave me insight into what life was about, what I had to look forward to. My most curious uncle was Uncle Charlie, my grandma's retarded brother,(I know now). He was a sweet, shy man, I used to try to get to talk to me. He never did; he just giggled. I didn't understand. All I was told was that I had to be nice and respectful to Uncle Charlie when my dad hired him to come to the house and repair this or that. My dad always paid him--as did everybody else in the family. He lived with another of his five sisters. If he had lived on his own back then, I imagine people would have taken advantage of him and kids would have made fun, but protected by family,he was never humiliated and never wanted for anything. He was family strong.

      You mentioning your aunts and uncles made me think of all of that! I must be in the family way :-)

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  5. I echo all the comments about the importance of family. Modern life necessitates more mobility for employment and it makes it so much more difficult to keep family cohesion. We make regular excuses to get the family and extended family together to do our little bit to hang onto some of that magic that comes from close family links.

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    1. You said it so well Mick. I remember when Ellis' brother announced he and his family were moving across the country to Seattle, I immediately cried. I should have been happy he found a wonderful job, but all I could think of is that we would become strangers. And that did happen. There's hardly any communication now that my brother in-law passed away. I watch my niece and nephew's lives on FB. Is that pathetic or what?

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  6. Replies
    1. Same to you Jean. L'Shana Tova, for a good year.

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  7. What a wonderful post, Linda, and what a wonderful celebration with the few family members that were there! Happy New Year!

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    1. Thanks Judy. A day with family is always a great day. I always feel centered.

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  8. Amen to that, Linda. Tradition and family are everything. Happy New Year

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    1. You said it too in your loving tribute to your wife and your amazing life together. Nothing is more important than family and the traditions that evolve from our need to stay close, to stay connected, to survive. It's just the way we are.

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  9. L'shanah tova. The lakeside tradition sounds very beautiful. I lost my father-in-law yesterday. He was the patriarch of the extended family we've had for a quarter century. It feels like the beginning of an unraveling. It is sad, I agree. Thank you for the gift of the yartzheit candles and your elegantly written post.

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    1. I'm so sorry Dan. Please give my condolences to your wife. Hopefully someone with strong feelings for family cohesiveness will pick up the baton. Hopefully you all live close to one another.

      It takes selflessness, energy and funding for families to stay in touch with one another these days--but full schedules, pricey airline tickets with all sorts of stipulations make it extremely difficult. Family has to be the priority of every member. And while many of us say it is, our actions say otherwise.

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  10. Great post Linda!
    Happy 5773 to you all, full of joyful moments, health and creativity!
    I was raised in a family that considers 20 people around a table, a small family gathering. A proper one means filling a house from corner to corner. So, I know exactly what you mean. And now that I'm back, even temporarily, I can say with certainty that if I could make a living here I wouldn't search around the globe and wouldn't be tempted from the most beautiful place on earth; I hate the thought that if I'm blessed with children, won't have the same.
    Hugs and wishes for the New Year and for a complete family gathering soon!

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    1. It's funny how when we're separated from our family, we sort of forget about them. We know they're wherever they are and they are living their lives as we are living ours. We're steeled to the fact we're on our own. We complain we never hear from them, but we're not picking up the phone, e-mailing or texting either. Get us all in the same room though, and camaraderie fills our hearts and we lament having to go back to how (isolated) it was before.

      When my kids went home after being here for two weeks, the house was deserted. Empty. And way too quiet. They could have stayed forever. We do have soccer teams and schools and Honda dealerships here, plus you can buy a mansion for a song. What's so great about California? It doesn't have us. :-)

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  11. Linda, I so enjoyed reading about you family traditions. Reminded me of some of our Ukrainian celebrations when my mother was alive - I miss all of it. I love the ceremony of Tashklikh at the lake, throwing away all the bad. And I will not tell a soul about the hamburgers!!! :)

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    1. Thanks. My son was a bit surprised when I told him I'd made hamburgers. I figured why not? We had lost the tradition as everybody moved away, why did we have to eat the traditional food when nobody was that fond of it in the first place? --Though, I do get a hankering for it sometimes when I'm in the mood for comfort foods. The roasted potatoes in the juices are fantastic and the vegetables too. My mouth is watering as I think about it.

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  13. A beautiful description of your celebratory traditions, Linda - and my best wishes for a very happy and creative New Year.

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