There sure are a lot of Jewish holidays this season. I happen to be lucky and work for a Jewish organization, meaning that I don’t have to miss much work.Â But for anyone who is missing work or an excessive amount of school, I feel for ya.
All these holidays got me thinking. What are my favorite holidays? What are the pros and cons of each of them? So, at the risk of trivializing Judaism, I give you my rankings for some (sorry Fast of Gedaliah) Jewish Holidays.
Rosh Hashanah: 3.5 (out of 5) Joseph Telushkin Heads. R/H is fine in my books. The food is pretty good (minus the honey on challah); the overall theme of the holiday is pretty nice.Â But it does have one major downside.Â The shul is far too packed with people who don’t daven and spend their time passing their grandchildren through the pews.
Yom Kippur: 3 Joseph Telushkin Heads. Alright, first the negatives. I don’t know anyone who particularly enjoys fasting (technically I’m fasting right now and I can’t wait to go get some lunch).Â As well, some of the Yom Kippur liturgy makes me a tad uncomfortable. I don’t like the idea that of being put into a “Book of Life.”
But there are some positives.Â First, it’s a great day of reflection. Even if I don’t buy the “who shall live/die” stuff, the day is a great opportunity to think back at your past year and try to make some real resolutions on how to better your life. Think about it as a New Year’s Party without making out with drunk chicks. Also, a great meal before and after.Â Who could ask for more?
Sukkot: 4 Joseph Telushkin Heads. If you enjoy the Fall season, this holiday is for you.Â Eating in a sukkah is really a great experience and there is nothing else like in Judaism.Â Sure it can get cold at night and no one really likes bugs on their food while eating outside (especially the OU).Â As well, Simchat Torah marks the end of the holiday with a wild and crazy day of Torah celebration.
There are two downsides, however. The first is the early services during the week. A bit too much marching around with palm trees for me.Â Also, and this really isn’t Sukkot’s fault, but after RoshHash and YK, the eight days of Sukkot can be a bit much.
Shavuot: 5 Telushkin Heads.Â That’s right.Â A perfect score to the most underrated holiday out there. I have no issues with this holiday. First off, it’s short.Â Two days is the perfect amount of time for a holiday.
Second, and most important, the food. Oh god do I love dairy. And this year, I went to someone’s house whose tradition was to have huge amounts of meat on Shavuot (to quote him, “It’s a big mitzvah to eat dairy on Shavuot.Â But little do people know that it’s a bigger mitzvah to eat meat).Â It was the best eating I’ve eaten the past year.
This doesn’t even cover my feelings on how Shavuot is (in my opinion) the official start to summer.
Chanukkah: 3 Joseph Telushkin Heads.Â Just plain overrated.Â And it’s in December.Â Nobody likes December.
Pesach: 1.5 Joseph Telushkin Heads.Â By far, my least favorite Jewish holiday.Â Where do I even start with this? Sure there is a lot of food, but the no yeast factor is a fundamental flaw.Â In no disrespect to my mother’s cooking (I know she’s reading this), bread makes any meal.
Now, you might be asking, at least there is food. How can you like Yom Kippur more than Passover? A fair question. But I would honestly rather not eat for a full day and have great meals before and after than eat food I don’t like for 8 days.Â Plus, Fiber One Bars aren’t Kosher for Passover.
And the seders! OY! Why is this night different from all other nights? Because Jeremy is at a dinner table and not enjoying himself!
Jeremy Moses- the Wicked Son
Pronounced: DAH-vun, Origin: Yiddish, to pray, following the Jewish liturgy.
Pronounced: MITZ-vuh or meetz-VAH, Origin: Hebrew, commandment, also used to mean good deed.
Pronounced: shah-voo-OTE (oo as in boot), also shah-VOO-us, Origin: Hebrew, the holiday celebrating the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, falls in the Hebrew month Sivan, which usually coincides with May or June.
Pronounced: shool (oo as in cool), Origin: Yiddish, synagogue.
Pronounced: sue-KOTE, or SOOH-kuss (oo as in book), Origin: Hebrew, a harvest festival in which Jews eat inside temporary huts, falls in the Jewish month of Tishrei, which usually coincides with September or October.
Pronunced: TORE-uh, Origin: Hebrew, the Five Books of Moses.
Pronounced: yohm KIPP-er, also yohm kee-PORE, Origin: Hebrew, The Day of Atonement, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar and, with Rosh Hashanah, one of the High Holidays.