The Jewish New Year has begun and with it come the “Days of Awe,” the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The foreboding connotation of the High Holidays has turned many a young Jewish adult sour (instead of the traditional sweet), especially for those who are single and away from the childhood celebrations of family. Lucky for us, our tradition considers Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simchat Torah as a part of one long celebratory start to a sweet new year.
Here are some ways to put the sweet back into your HHD celebrations.
1. Go to an alternative service
Alternative services are not just for singles or those who choose not to pay for services. Alternative services are for all of us who want something meaningful, which we can’t achieve in a crowded formal atmosphere where the “traditional” service takes place. Lest you feel the “alternative” service have a beggar’s connotation—they were really begun as a way to conserve space in the “main sanctuary;” now, these alternative services offer less formality, more musicality, and sometimes even meditation and yoga along with updates to the prayers that make for a more meaningful start to the new year. These alternative offerings are not your mother’s HHD services.
2. Community wide break fast
Don’t break your fast at the nearest deli. It’s OK to walk into the social hall alone and grab the first bagel with salmon you see. Get your cup of java that you’ve been craving all day and cop a squat at a table. I guarantee you someone else is going to come along and sit down at those empty seats. You don’t have to be with anyone to celebrate with everyone. All are invited to break bread and no one is a stranger.
3. Check out events in the Jewish Community just for young adults
Young Adult Divisions are a great way to hang out with people your own age and acknowledge the time of year. Throughout September these Young Adult Divisions housed underneath the Jewish Federation of North America auspices all over the US will have fun activities like an Apples ‘n Honey Happy Hour or Dinner in the Sukkah. They will be happy, heavy on the fun, and a lot lighter on the whole tone of atonement.
4. Make your new years’ resolutions
Make this next Jewish year one not to forget. Creating resolutions helps you see where you are relative to where you want to be at this time next year. Is this the year you want to find a new job, travel more or meet someone special to celebrate with on New Year’s Eve in December? Join JDate, spruce up your resume with Canva or try meetup.com to find fellow travelers. As NIKE would say, “Just do it!”
5. 10Q it
One of my favorite activities to do during the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is 10Q. Each day for the 10 days between the holidays you will receive a question to answer topics ranging from what are you proud of this past year to what will be happening in the world this time next year. The answers get locked in an electronic vault and you’ll get them back next year. Reading your answers and then going through the exercise again is more meaningful to me than any traditional liturgy said during services. And, it is a solo activity!
6. Celebrate the Jewish Thanksgiving
Sukkot starts the evening of Sunday, September 27. That means you have all of next week to plan yourself a merry little picnic for two or more. Love the way it is starting to feel crisp and cool outside? Then dine beneath the stars. You can take advantage of a community sukkah or gather some friends, a DIY sukkah kit and build one yourself. This is an activity where everyone takes part. Kids can color paper décor, seniors can string the popcorn and singles or pairs can help with the picnic preparations.
Still feeling like Home for the Holidays isn’t what you’re looking for this year? Then get out of dodge. Take a vacation. There are trips for Jewish singles during Sukkot. But, if you don’t have that kind of time how about a long weekend at a resort with your best friend? Maybe you just want to commune with yourself and a nice massage at a top-rated spa? Or an all-girls or guys weekend in Vegas? I know what you’re thinking… Vegas is the least Jewish place in the world. But, if you’re there spending time with people whom you love and you’re taking time to share special moments with others — then it is as Jewish a place as you may need to celebrate this New Year.