Upcoming Holidays: A Guide for the Perplexed

A comedic take on fasting, praying and everything in between.

We are the chosen people, which is ironic given that we are generally chosen last in gym class, and this comes with some responsibilities: mandatory affection for lox, kvetching, kvetching about other people kvetching, and who can forget—all those holidays. I’m here to guide you through the two coming soonest: Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah.

Yom Kippur

*It’s the holiest solemn day in the Jewish calendar, when Jews fast from sunset to sunset, or in California, from sunset until hungry.

*Yom Kippur is the last day for prayers to reach God making it the theological equivalent of cramming for a test. You should have just fasted a little every day before, mister.

*Jews are supposed to fast so they won't be distracted by food. Unfortunately, the one thing that distracts Jews more than food is the lack of food. Nice try, God.

*The prayer “Kol Nidre” is about the community collectively taking on the sins of all its members. If you have any sins you feel like splitting a few million ways, now's the time.

*Yom Kippur is traditionally when prayers are heard the strongest. Praying for a sandwich is generally frowned upon.

Rosh Hashanah

*It’s the Jewish New Year, with far fewer dragons than its Chinese equivalent.

*We celebrate by blowing the shofar, a cross between a kazoo and an ancient vuvuzela that sounds like a bullfrog on a bullhorn. It’s the musical instrument designed by people who hate music.

*The Jewish calendar is turning to the year 5772. Impress your dumber friends by telling them that Jews “are from the future.”

*On Rosh Hashanah, many Jews perform the act of Tashlich, which involves tossing chunks of bread into the river. This tradition was started by a group of rabbinical ducks.

*The Jewish New Year is rung in by the eating of apples and honey, which symbolizes the land of “milk and honey” promised by God—His polite way of saying “sand.”

I hope this helps. Call me when there's a holiday that’s brisket and naps.


Lev Novak


Lev Novak is a junior at Tufts and a frequent contributor for College Humor.

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Posted on September 5, 2011 and filed under High Holidays, Humor, Special Sections.