No, I am not about to take off in a time machine, but I am wishing everyone a Happy Jewish New Year.
According to the Jewish calendar, come Wednesday evening we’ll be bidding goodbye to ol’ 5771 and welcoming a fresh, young 5772. There’s a funny essay about Rosh Hashanah at the end of this blog post.
There are a few big dates in 5772 that I would love for you to mark in your calendars:
My new administrative assistant, FILE-BOT, will introduce them:
(FILE-BOT lives a mile up the road from my house. I rode my bike past her on Sunday and fell in love.)
-NOV. 12th & 13th, Sat and Sun, 10 am to 5 pm. MY ANNUAL OPEN STUDIO EVENT
This year, I will showcase the new line of greeting cards — there are over thirty funny, colorful cards for all your birthday and get well needs. At least fifty other artists and artisans will open their doors and let you snoop around, so come visit us in beautiful Florence, MA! Here’s a website with all the details: http://www.openstudios221.blogspot.com/
-DEC. 17th. Saturday night. SANTACIDE.
Enjoy the slapstick whodunit play I cowrote for its ONE AND ONLY performance at The Academy of Music in Northampton. There are 800 seats to fill at the Academy, and it will be a produced by Northampton’s August Theater Company. Tickets will be available by November at the Academy of Music Theater, but mark your calendars now. When tickets become available, (and I will let you know) buy them here: http://www.academyofmusictheatre.com/
-OCT. 19th, Wed night. MASTER CLASS IN GAG CARTOONING at the San Francisco Cartoon Art Museum.
Spacing is limited. You’ll learn good stuff about how to get cartoon ideas and craft a single panel cartoon. http://cartoonart.org/2011/09/what-rhymes-with-orange-creating-a-strip-without-characters/
OTHER BITS OF NEWS…
REPOSTING THE LINK FOR THE RADIO COMMENTARY
–For your ear-ish pleasure, I present “The Lighter Side of Breaking Up.”
MORE TOONS UP ON THE CAFE PRESS STORE–Check out the latest at Cafe Press store, especially the Judaica section. (Need a Bar-Mitzvah gift, anyone?)
And as a reminder, if you want to see any favorite strip on a mug or a tote or whatever, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get it up there.
A FUNNY ESSAY ABOUT ROSH HASHANAH
There were two types of kids who attended my Sunday Hebrew school: the Jewish kids and the Jew-ish kids. I fell into that second category. But I‘ve always known that around this time in fall is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and that one of the ways people celebrate is to dip apple slices into honey. Holidays that involve sugar are rarely lost on me.
It had been explained that this ritual represents the hope for a sweet new year, and that during this time, Jews were to do two things: make amends with people for our screw-ups in the past year, and make plans to reduce our screw-ups with people in this coming year.
Until a few years ago that was the only Rosh Hashanah ritual I knew of. So one afternoon I was walking my dog with a friend on a wooded path beside the river and we came upon a congregation that looked to be on a field trip. They were dressed up, as if they’d just come from synagogue, but each of them held a plastic bag with bread in it.
I knew a bunch of faces in the crowd and my friend had taught one of the congregant’s kids. The mom came up and greeted us warmly. “Are you here for Tashlich? They’re about to start.”
“Tashlich?” said my friend.
“It’s when you take little pieces of bread and toss them into the river. Each piece represents one of your sins, and as they float away you’re letting go of them and giving yourself a fresh start. The word Tashlich literally means ‘casting off.’”
“That sounds neat. But we were really just walking my dog,” I admitted.
“What dog?” she asked.
I looked around. Oh god.
There he was, chest deep in the cold September water, wagging, bright-eyed, facing the congregants who stood at the river’s edge. For the rest of the ceremony, their sins of the past year did not float solemnly away. Instead, they were pounced on and swallowed by a ninety-pound dog who took his commands from a different master, certainly not the one standing impotently by the shore.
That evening, as I covered the apple slice with as much honey as it could hold, it was not hard for me to imagine the amends I could make for screw-ups in this year, as well as the plans I could make for reducing screw-ups in the next.