New Years’ Eve in Israel – I irreverently walked the dog at midnight to dismiss the Gregorian New Year. I have only five lines on my tombstone and I really want to punctuate them with meaning and script them with significance: Not waste space with references to Jesus’s Brit. Anyway Jews already have four New Year’s:

The first New Year was the creation of the world on the first of Tishri, the physical New Year with which we also count the reigns of kings and agricultural taxes. (ii) The 15th of Shevat is the New Year for trees when the sap starts flowing back up to the leaves. (iii) Nissan is the first month of the calendar and the New Year for creating the Jewish people: At Passover during the exodus from Egypt God commanded us to celebrate the lunar month that counts the years. And (iv) Elul is the New Year for taxing livestock.

My son was born on Christmas Eve but in Hebrew we faithfully call him Ori (My Light) because he was born during Hanukah. His Brit was held on New Year’s Day so we are celebrating today. He is 10 years old and I know that in a few years he will ask to go out on December 31. I’ll tell him “sure but first walk the dog.”