Sisterhood Blog

A Holiday From the Holidays

By Allison Kaplan Sommer

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For the first time in months, I am actually sitting down to work and I am able to actually think about work.

There are no Hanukkah candles to light, no Purim costumes or mishloach manot gift baskets to prepare, no campfires to plan for Lag B’Omer, no Passover cleaning. I don’t have to take the morning off to watch and videotape my kid are taking part in Yom HaShoah or Yom HaZikaron ceremonies, I don’t have to purchase the meat for grilling on Israel Independence Day, nor bake a cheesecake and assemble a fruit basket for Shavuot.

Any mother who moves to Israel seeking a more intense and involved form of Jewish life for themselves and their children has little idea of what she’s in for.

Indeed, the experience of the entire society taking part in Jewish rituals and celebrations, with the addition of national holidays, is meaningful, and fulfilling and it’s what having a Jewish state is all about.

It is also incredibly exhausting and time-consuming.

In the U.S., the intensity and pressure of the Thanksgiving/Hanukkah/Christmas/New Year’s holiday season can get to you, but we are talking about a maximum of a month and a half of distraction, and then one can basically buckle down until summer vacation hits.

But think about this: The Jewish/Israeli holiday season begins with the High Holidays in September, and then — with the exception of a brief respite between the High Holidays and Hanukkah — hurtles till June in a non-stop cavalcade of activity. The activities include everyone - from secular to Orthodox.

The constant celebrations and commemorations add another layer of pressure to parents who are already juggling career and day-to-day child care and household maintenance. And parental burdens, as we know, fall disproportionately on mothers.

That is why, finally, this week, the holiday roller coaster screeches to a halt, and we can heave a sigh of relief — more than three months lie ahead without a holiday to gear up for or festive meals to plan and prepare.

They tried to kill us; they failed. We ate; now it’s time to burn off the calories —hopefully before we hit the beach.


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