Perhaps it is too early to be thinking about New Year's Eve and resolutions for 2007, but spare a thought for the Jews around this time. Very confusing for us ? after all, we've celebrated our New Year back in September with Rosh Hashanah* ? and now we are called upon to drink more cheap champagne and pretend to be happy that another year has passed.
Besides, 2007 is a strange number. We all know the world was created 5,767 years ago so what is with the discount? Ah, I know. Jesus was born 2,007 years ago and that is when the calendar starts! But no, I was taught at school that the Gregorian calendar began in 1584 and was an adaptation of the Julian calendar which started 45 years before the birth of Christ, so where does 2007 come from? Feh, who cares.
The point is, for Jews, January 1st holds no significance other than another free holiday. In fact, January 1st is a significant date for non-Jews as it is also the Feast of the Circumcision. Yes, the day to commemorate the messianic snip. In other words, the day Jesus became a Jew! Surely, an important day for world jewry? Although, again the numbers don't add up. We all know that young Jewish kids get chopped 8 days after birth, but Jan 1st, the Feast of Circumcision, is actually 7 days. Oh well, maybe details are not that important in religion.
January 1st is also the Solemnity of Mary Day for Catholics and we Jews must have some sympathy for this celebration. Which Jew is going to be brave enough to complain about a day devoted to Mothers?
In Israel, of course, New Year's Day is not celebrated. In fact, they go so far as to rub it in by calling it Sylvester's Day. A rather ironic nod to the 4th century Pope who baptized Constantine, introduced harsh anti-Semitic legislation, and banned Jews from entering Jerusalem. So, not huge festivities on this day in Israel. But then, why the name after him? Jewish humor, I suppose. However, go to Tel Aviv on December 31st and see the thousands of Israelis "not celebrating." The hangovers at work on Jan 1st in Israel could threaten peace worldwide, so spare a thought for those grumpy Israelis in their offices on this day.
So, is New Year's Eve/Day Good for the Jews? You decide.
Remember, the calculation is: each category marked out of 7.
Antisemitic Potential + Impact on the World x J-Factor = Tzurus (Yiddish for Troubles).
Divide Tzurus by 7 (Kabbalistic spiritual number).
= 0-7 Not good for the Jews
8-14 Good for the Jews
7-8 Borderline. Therefore Not Good for the Jews.
* Actually, religious Jews have four days to choose for their New Year's Day: Rosh Hashanah in September; the Festival of Trees in January; New Year for Kings in April; New Year for Animal Tithes in August. Exhausting.