It’s New Year’s, and a HUGE holiday in New York City. Rosh Hashanah is big anywhere in Manhattan, but especially on the Upper West Side. This happens to be a Jewish neighborhood, and we happen to live in a predominantly Jewish building. Although I was raised Catholic, in the thirteen years of my relationship with Michael, most of our Gentile friends in Atlanta thought I was the Jew, and he was not. Everyone knew that we had an interfaith marriage, and they just assumed that because I was from Pennsylvania and had the more dominant nasal feature, Mike was Catholic and I was Jewish.
When I first relocated south of the Mason-Dixon, I remember hanging out in a very young singles type of bar in a hip neighborhood known as Virginia Highlands. A dashing young boy looked at me as I was walking by and declared rather loudly, “She is not from the South,” Between my “Friends”-style hairdo, and my prevalent nose, I guess I unknowingly proved my Yankee roots that night.
I hoped to lose my Philly accent and blend into Georgia landscape, but this never happened– not even after 12 years there; hence my migration back to the Northeast. Oddly enough, for my first two years living in New York City, my southern accent was imitated and mocked by coworkers. I couldn’t escape either place. When I was in the South, I was from the North. When I was in the North, I was from the South. I think by now, I’m officially from nowhere.
The year we moved to Manhattan, that first Jewish holiday was like no other for my husband. Rosh Hashanah, along with all others, was recognized citywide. Offices and buildings closed or had different hours. New Yorkers of all religions referred to this day as “the holiday.” I remember my silly husband responding, “What holiday?” This was so different from Georgia that he didn’t quite know how to react.
When I was in the elevator tonight, an unfamiliar British woman chatted with me and cheerfully said, “Have a good holiday! Happy New Year.” Of course, I replied, since I do celebrate it every year. But nonetheless, I was mistaken yet again. All the while I thought about cooking my Matzo Balls, heating my Latkes, and all the other parts of the evening meal ahead. Even though Rosh Hashanah is not traditionally my holiday, I can easily celebrate New Years’ biannually. It’s always been one of favorites, and the Jewish girl in me just loves a party.
|Apples and honey for a sweet year!–credit|