Jill Kargman on the Jewish New Year
Each December 31st, as millions of drunk, cavorting revelers smooch and screech in Times Square as the dropping ball demarcates a new year, I’m usually asnooze and wake up no more invigorated than the chilly night before. That’s because my fresh start has always been September: the feeling of turning a corner, pressing the reset button, and walking with a renewed spring in my newly-booted step. And not just because I’m Jewy Jewstein and I’m going the eat crisp granny smiths and honey to ring in a sweet annum ahead, but because (open door, enter confession booth, lower voice to a whisper…) I loathe summer.
“I hate sweating my balls off, slathering sunblock on squirmy children, and eating like a bulimic without the purge part.”
That’s right, you heard me over your blaring Robin Thicke. I hate strangers’ flip-flopped feet. I hate midriffs, chipped blue pedicures, tanorexia. I hate sweating my balls off, slathering sunblock on squirmy children, and eating like a bulimic without the purge part. I miss routine. I miss discipline and work. But also I miss jackets and scarfs and new packets of opaque tights. I worship fall. I truly believe I have RSAD: Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder. This may be because I’m the Addams Family relative who doesn’t appear on their Halloween card. I choose black over teal. Charcoal over coral.
“Fall is exhilarating, inspiring, and also sexy: July always yields a birth boom in most city hospitals (I was pushing my first out in a supply closet as a result) because peeps get chilly then bizzay come the wind-whipped months.”
As a die-hard New Yorker, I subscribe to the blustery cinematic version of a grey October day out of a Woody Allen movie—cozy layers on the way to an exhibition or walk in the park—watching a season’s colors morph as the mercury drops with the fluttering orange and red leaves. Fall is exhilarating, inspiring, and also sexy: July always yields a birth boom in most city hospitals (I was pushing my first out in a supply closet as a result) because peeps get chilly then bizzay come the wind-whipped months.
“So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 5774.”
But long before an interest in the new stylish threads emerged, I always loved that back-to-school feeling. Fresh school supplies, a new book bag, grade level and classroom are not a distant memory to me—they’re all a lovely hangover from the ghost of student past, in sync with my Jewish New Year experience as well. I’m not entirely great at sitting still in temple (in fact I am so into my Soulcycle class, I call it Spinagogue). That said, I crack out new duds, sit with my family and basically listen and think. My mind often obviously drifts to other places but in this insanely tumultuous chaotic world it’s nice to press the pause button and feel that momentary beat between seasons. Rosh Hashanah is like the top of the roller coaster after slowly inching my way up through an interminable August. And then (deep breath!) we go speeding gleefully into fall, hitting the ground running in heels to meetings, dismissals, activities, and parties. And I love it all. Maybe when winter’s sniffles start and I’m blizzard-weary I’ll have a fleeting pang for summer’s snail’s pace. But knowing my ants-in-my-pants, sun-loathing vampire self, I highly doubt it. So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 5774.
Jill Kargman is a writer based in New York City. Besides contributing to major publications such as Vogue, Elle and Travel + Leisure, she has also published several books. Her memoir Sometimes I Feel Like a Nut was a National Bestseller and her latest is The Rock Star in Seat 3A.Find her on Twitter.