Friday, December 31, 2010

Well, I Guess it Was Good ...

To you, me, and the entire Jewish blogosphere. Let's drink to 2011 (and the rest of 5771, of course).
It's weird being Jewish. I don't mean that in the general sense (although sometimes it really is weird, like when you're waving that gigantic lemon and those twigs around), but in the sense that New Years is upon us and a whole lotta Jews everywhere are shutting down for Shabbat, not New Years. There will be no parties, and I'm sure plenty will go to bed before the ball drops or the clock strikes 12 (although I'm guessing a lot of people do that anyway). Booze might be had, and an abundance of food surely will be consumed, but that's just what Shabbat is about, right? Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow will come Y2K.

I actually didn't realize that New Years fell on Shabbat this year until last week, and I wasn't as depressed as I'd thought. I mean, my family had a very specific New Years plan when I was growing up. Mom would cut up various meats and cheeses, she'd make cheeseball (not the kind you're thinking), various dips, and we'd sit around noshing for a few hours on what we liked to call "Picnic" food. My mom would make the kids a non-alcoholic Pina Colada and my dad an alcoholic Margarita (the only alcohol he'd consume all year). We'd eat, watch the ball drop, then go to bed. That was our tradition since, well, forever. When I started dating Tuvia, I opted to hold on to bits of this tradition but making the Pina Colada alcoholic and choosing either meat or cheese as the cuisine of choice. Last year we did some cheese and crackers with veggies and dips, as well as chips and dip. It was really great, and it connected me to that childhood event that so defined New Years for me. And Tuvia was more than happy to play along.

This year, however, what to do? We can't run the blender on Shabbat, and by the time we eat (after all, Shabbat starts around 4:30) and try to bide some time, we'll be tired by 9 p.m. Will it be worth it to stay up until midnight not watching the mayhem on television? Not seeing the ball drop? I mean, Snookie of Jersey Shore fame will be going down in a ball, too! This is life-altering stuff, folks. And it will all take place behind the darkened screens of hundreds of televisions while Jewish families get their Shabbat on.

It seems stupid. Maybe it's not such a big deal. But isn't it? There are four New Years for Jews, and one of them is coming up -- Tu b'Shevat, aka the Jewish arbor day -- on January 20, 2011. But it's not a ball dropping, Pina Colada drinking kind of holiday. It's a "respect the trees" kind of holiday. I get that. But I can't help but feel like I'm missing out not watching the gaudy experience of Times Squarers every where.

But I shouldn't complain. 2010 saw a lot of really amazing things for me for which I've already belabored the points. What I didn't mention, however, is how incredibly well-read this blog has become, and that, for me, is a huge blessing. The nearly 14,000 page views a month (my eyes are popping out of my head right now) doesn't get me anything in revenue, but it does bring me a lot of interesting things to think about and write about, and it does suggest tiny little hugs at the rate of about 500 views a day (except on Shabbat, of course, you guys are serious). And, you have to remember, the goal of this blog is not money-making: It's people making. The goal here, is to light a fire under all the souls I can. And this year has done that. My most read and commented-on posts have all been written this year, 2010. (Check out the list over there on the right column.)

I never thought this blog would become as respected as y'all think it is, and it's a huge compliment to me. I wanted this blog to be a place of truth, surprise, and story-telling. I wanted my readers to see that I'm a real person, saying real things, expressing real emotions about real events in my life that mean something to me. The motto, I suppose, of this blog, is that "I cannot tell a lie -- to a fault." Sometimes that might be good, sometimes it might be bad, but for better or worse, it's me.

So thank you all, for an amazing, explosive 2010. I only hope 2011 brings more awesomeness and what you want to see and hear from me. And, of course, might 5771 continue to be as stellar as it has been all along. I hope to resurrect some old topics from 2006-2009 that y'all might have missed out on, but those things are so much about who I am now. I also hope to tell more stories about how I got to where I am and how I even came to Judaism in the first place. It didn't all happen in a vacuum!

And with that, I say, happy (Gregorian) New Year, everyone. Eat, drink, and be oh-so-merry!