WouldJew Believe #18: New Years

December 31, 2009

4 min read


Interesting facts about calendars: “Theirs” and “Ours.”


Simple, it’s not. In fact, with its complicated mathematical computations, understanding the Jewish calendar could’ve been on the very first SAT for MOTs. What with Earth rotations, sun and moon revolutions, three and a third second chalakim, if Einstein had to “do the math,” he’d have wound up at ZCC (Zurich Community College) and created the theory of cheese holes. But hey, since when do we do anything “easy?”

Here are seven important facts about the Jewish calendar:

Many people think that the Jewish calendar ( Lu'ach Iv'ri in Hebrew) is primarily lunar, but it’s not that simple. It’s not solar-based, as is the Gregorian calendar, which is widely used in the western world; and it’s not completely lunar like the Muslim calendar. It’s kind of like a lunar/solar hybrid. Here are seven more important facts. The Jewish calendar:

1. was established as fixed around 400 C.E. by Hillel II, based upon three astronomical phenomena: the rotation of Earth on its axis (a day); the revolution of the moon around Earth (a month); the revolution of Earth around the sun (a year).

2. is standardized over a 19 year period, re-aligning lunar with the solar years. An extra month of Adar is added in years three, six, eight, 11, 14, 17 and 19; this is known as the Jewish leap year.

3. is believed divine based on the time of Creation. (In the Gregorian calendar, this date fell on Sunday, September 6, 3761 B.C.E.) The year number is calculated by adding up the ages of personages in the Bible.

4. starts the day at sunset/sundown. Hours divide into 1,080 three and a third seconds called chalakim (parts).

5. uses Mean time set by the meridian of Jerusalem instead of Greenwich (England).

6. affixed months during the time of Ezra, after the exiles returned to Israel from Babylonia. The names then, are Babylonian. 

And ......... wouldjew believe .......

7. as there are about 12.4 lunar months in every solar year, a 12-month lunar calendar loses about 11 days yearly, and a 13-month lunar calendar gains about 19 days yearly.


JEWISH:        More prayer than merriment
GOYISH:       More merriment through hurling

JEWISH:      Day of Judgment
GOYISH:     Day of football

JEWISH:     Festive meals, including pomegranates, round challah and apples dipped in honey for a sweet year to come
GOYISH:    Festive meals, including subs, pizza, and in the South, Hoppin' John—black eyed peas and ham hocks for a sweet halftime

JEWISH:     Focus on repentance
GOYISH:    Focus on things that require repentance ... boozing, partying, kissing strangers

JEWISH:     God is King
GOYISH:    Dick Clark is King (anointed after Guy Lombardo– and his Canadians).

JEWISH:     Rest to contemplate how to better serve God and improve our behavior
GOYISH:    Rest to contemplate how to: a) better absorb three bottles of champagne within five hours; b) get over a monster hangover in time to catch the Rose Bowl

JEWISH:    Saying “Shana Tova Umetokah” wishing others a good and sweet year.
GOYISH:    Singing the most popular song in the world (next to "Blue Suede Shoes") to which maybe 10 people know the words. At the stroke of midnight, Goyim break into ......... "Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot and ... rum tee tum dah dee.. Then, “la la la dah dee  ALL TOGETHER NOW ...  Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot For Auld Lang Syyyyyyyyyne" !!!!!

JEWISH:     Blowing the shofar
GOYISH:    Blowing foil multi confetti horns

JEWISH:     Find water while praying to "cast off" sins. (Tashlikh)
GOYISH:    Avoid running water while partying to prevent falling in.

JEWISH:    Top three “Resolutions”
        1: Live a good Jewish life
        2: Be more proactive in making the world better and more humane
        3: Increase tzedakah
GOYISH:    Top three resolutions
        1. Lose holiday bloat
        2. Upgrade my computer and IPods
        3. Don’t eat yellow snow


JEWISH:    A time to look at past mistakes, and plan changes in the New Year
GOYISH:    A time to make resolutions – and try to keep them, at least until the Superbowl

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