A Snowbird’s Rosh HaShanah or Norman Rockwell Made it Look Easy

by Les Rosenthal

Image by Ajale from Pixabay

If we lived in Eutopia, preparing for the High Holidays with my wife, Pat, and our adult children, Katie and Kerri, when both adult daughters live within driving distance would be easy and enjoyable. Not so much in Gig Harbor, Washington, where my desire to enjoy this family time of year is an uphill battle. Kerri said, “Dad, I’ve got to work.” Her excuse to skip services, which I used when I was her age, now comes home to roost. Listening, I recall the admonition of the Torah to not condemn in my children faults I have condoned in myself. So I keep my mouth shut and imagine I’ve planted a seed for another time. Maybe, I think, I can arrange a family dinner. Maybe Kerri and Dan, our son-in-law, will come with our granddaughter. After all, my daughters live a lot more hectic life than I do. Their many obligations, commuting time, and finishing their ‘to do’ list are in themselves a major accomplishment. Maybe I’ll suggest their house, so they don’t have to fight the traffic to come to our house. Maybe, because food will bring our family together once more, for our Rosh Hashanah gathering. Maybe without gifts, today Pesach is all we can do. Maybe I can offer to bring Chinese food, which will allow us to gather at Kerri and Dan’s home, no fuss with cooking or much cleaning up. I’d much prefer that than missing High Holidays gathering altogether because the energy to make this happen seems like too much. I’ll ask my eldest daughter, Katie.

Calling Katie, I am pleasantly surprised when she says she’d like to go to Rosh Hashanah services with my wife, Pat and me. ☺ Pat and I are invited to a friend’s house for an after-service open house that afternoon. According to Katie, that is too much “being around my parents’ friends” to endure. I get that. Ok, I think… maybe just a family dinner after Kerri and Dan get off work. This will still allow an acknowledgement of the New Year with a gathering of the Rosenthal tribe. I call Kerri back, suggest it and she says, “It’s too far away for us to be able to plan.” SIGH… With the simplicity of my plan, it may still work even if we plan it a few days beforehand. Maybe Katie, Pat and I will just enjoy our company at the after-service oneg and call it a day.

We Jews living in the United States have so much for which to be grateful. Outside of Israel, we live in the least anti-Semitic country in the world. I’ve been inspired by listening to Dennis Prager these past few months. If you haven’t, you may want to look him up? He taught me that “Happiness is a decision not an emotion.” Struggling with my familial Rosh Hashanah hopes, I have to credit Dennis Prager for helping me keep it all in perspective.

Respectfully submitted from Snowbirdland – Les Rosenthal