School started Saturday: the day of the Jewish New Year. Our neighborhood has a school every few feet, which means that come 7:30 AM we could hear the clamor of the thousands of school kids that have descended on our neighborhood.
I spent the holiday with a Jewish family who served the New Year's dinner at 11:30 PM. “It’s just 20 minutes past Fall,” a 14-year old announced as the dinner came on to the table.
Earlier that day, I went hiking with an ex-pat friend who told me that two things need to be reformed in Iran: the start time of dinner and the salad dressing. “That pink stuff has got to go,” she said referring to the ubiquitous mayonnaise and ketchup dressing that accompanies almost every salad in Iran. “It’s time for a nice vinaigrette” That’s exactly right! Start small, I say. Clearly the nuclear negotiations are going nowhere. The salad dressing and dinner time negotiations promise more success.
The family had a Rosh Hashana ceremony that was a bit like a seder and that I had never attended before. It involved several symbolic foods and unfamiliar prayers. My favorite part was when we bit a green onion in half in a symbolic act of vanquishing our enemies.
“We bite it in half?” I asked.
“You’ve never done this before?” the mater familias asked me.
“Don’t you have any enemies in America?” they joked.
I laughed and answered, “No we do not.” I was only half-joking. I never experienced hands on anti-Semitism in all my years as a small-town Midwestern Jew.
We bit the green onion. Some names were given to the enemies, and we threw the green halves over our shoulders.
Inshallah, this time next year we will set a table for our enemies...