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“Look, New Year’s Eve sucks. You know it, I know it. It’s all anticipation, no follow-through. It’s invariably a disappointment.
You know what’s better than New Year’s Eve? Rosh Hashanah. Come with me, won’t you, on a journey of year-end musing!
Here is why I (and perhaps you) hate New Year’s Eve: You’re supposed to get dressed up all fancy (it is fun to be fancy sometimes—but it is not fun to feel pressure to be fancy) and go to a schmancy place that is invariably packed with unpleasant people. You are supposed to drink too much, which generally makes unpleasant people even more unpleasant and causes the streets of my neighborhood to run beige with vomit. There is a reason New Year’s Eve is known as Amateur Night. New Year’s Eve is expensive. Restaurants have prix fixe menus I do not want. Lyft prices skyrocket. Babysitters have cartoon-character dollar signs in their eyes.
And you’re supposed to have the Best! Time! Ever! New Year’s Eve is when everything wonderful is supposed to start! (It’s the only secular holiday that officially begins the night before, with an erev, the way every holiday on the Jewish calendar does. Yes, Christmas does, too, but that’s not a secular holiday.) New Year’s Day is about being schlumpy and hungover and lying on the couch in thick socks, or waking up with a stranger and regrets, but New Year’s Eve is all manic joy and possibility.
And it is a lie. New Year’s Eve is like the wedding that concludes classic Shakespearean comedies and entirely too many rom-coms. That’s it! Whoo! Achievement unlocked! There’s no real-world looking ahead to the challenges of, y’know, marriage. New Year’s Eve is all glorious and gleaming surface, no difficult reality. So many formative movies feature love blooming on this special, special night. There’s When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, While You Were Sleeping, Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Apartment, Bundle of Joy (yeah, look how well marrying New Year’s Eve co-star Eddie Fisher wound up for Debbie Reynolds!), Waiting to Exhale, and An Affair to Remember (ruining people’s real-life New Years since 1957!).”
JJ Editor's Picks
"Not even what one might think of as the most basic tenet of any religion, a belief in the existence of God, is a prerequisite: Agnosticism is a key principle of at least one major school of Hindu philosophy."
"The presidency of any particular incumbent is relatively short... but the precedential consequences of impeaching a president without complying with the specific provisions of the Constitution “as it was written” are enduring."
"After news that a judge allegedly provided sexual favors to Bar Association president Efi Nave in exchange for her appointment, several politicians said in their responses that the Judicial Selection Committee needed to be the “Holy of Holies.”"
"Two new documentaries take on Billy McFarland and his disastrous music festival... the secret villain of this story all along: the subtle menace of social media marketing."
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"Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. "
"Here in the good old U.S. of A, the third annual Women's March planned for Jan. 19 is in serious trouble, thanks to irreconcilable political disagreements."
"Nature, however, with its endless cycles of death and rebirth, fascinated her. Walking in the woods, she developed a method that has become the hallmark of her poetry, taking notice simply of whatever happens to present itself."
"Modern parents haven’t stopped playing favorites; they’ve just stopped doing it openly. Though few parents today will admit they have a favorite child, studies indicate that about two-thirds of parents do."
"The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised."
"Sphen and Magic looked like they would make great, diligent, careful egg-warming parents. They made the biggest nest, and they sat on it constantly."
"How YMHAs, followed by synagogue-centers, and finally JCCs have tried—in different ways—to balance Judaism and Jewishness, by bringing Jews together in intellectual, spiritual, and physical pursuits"