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Lori Prashker-Thomas

Choosing Not to Celebrate Rosh Hashanah Traditionally

Happy and Sweet New Year - Traditional apples and honey - This design was created on Canva.com on September 15,, 2023. It is copyrighted by Lori Prashker-Thomas/ShadowCatcher Photography (Paid Subscription)
Happy and Sweet New Year - Traditional apples and honey - This design was created on Canva.com on September 15,, 2023. It is copyrighted by Lori Prashker-Thomas/ShadowCatcher Photography (Paid Subscription)

In a world that celebrates diversity and respects individual choices, it’s essential to understand that not everyone partakes in the same religious or cultural traditions. As someone who does not celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, in the traditional sense, I want to share my perspective on why I make this choice and why others should refrain from passing judgment.

Respect for Different Beliefs – One of the cornerstones of a harmonious society is respect for the beliefs and practices of others. My decision not to celebrate Rosh Hashanah traditionally has changed over the years and is rooted in my personal beliefs and values, which may differ from others in the Jewish faith. It’s important to acknowledge that people come from diverse backgrounds and belief systems, and that’s what makes the world so wonderfully unique.

Cultural and Religious Freedom – Freedom is a fundamental human right, and this includes the freedom to practice or not practice any religion or cultural tradition. Rosh Hashanah holds profound significance for Jewish individuals, but it may not resonate with everyone. By respecting my choice not to celebrate Rosh Hashanah in the traditional sense, we honor the principle of religious and cultural freedom that underpins modern societies.

Personal Circumstances – Many factors can influence an individual’s decision regarding religious observance. Personal circumstances, life experiences, and family dynamics all play a role. For some, the choice not to celebrate Rosh Hashanah may be deeply personal, stemming from past experiences or unique family histories. It’s crucial to recognize that we don’t always know the reasons behind someone’s choices, and that’s okay.

Promoting Inclusivity – Inclusivity means welcoming people of all backgrounds and beliefs into our communities without judgment. By not judging someone for choosing not to celebrate Rosh Hashanah in the traditional manner, we foster a more inclusive and accepting society. It’s a testament to our ability to coexist peacefully, despite our differences.

Encouraging Open Dialogue – Rather than making assumptions or passing judgment, it’s far more productive to engage in open and respectful dialogue. If you have questions about why someone does or does not celebrate a particular holiday, ask them. Constructive conversations can lead to greater understanding and empathy, bridging gaps and fostering connections.

In a world that celebrates diversity and cherishes individual freedoms, please remember that not everyone observes the same religious or cultural traditions. My decision not to celebrate Rosh Hashanah traditionally is a personal one, rooted in my beliefs and circumstances. I believe it’s equally essential for others to respect and refrain from judging this choice. By promoting tolerance, respecting freedom of choice, and encouraging open dialogue, we can build a more inclusive and harmonious world where everyone’s choices are valued and accepted.

שָׁנָה טוֹבָה וּמְתוּקָה – however you may celebrate!

About the Author
Lori Prashker-Thomas has always been a creative soul and a free spirit and never thought “author” would be on her resume. Lori is the author of "From Mistakes To Miracles: A Jewish Birthmother’s Story of Redemption, Hope, and Healing," which was released in October of 2022. Lori is also a legal secretary and Paralegal for 20+ years. She is also Co-Owner and Photographer at ShadowCatcher Photography, LLC, with her husband, Michael, Owner and Wedding Officiant of Ceremonies by Lori, and a speaker/writer/ advocate, focusing mainly on being a Jewish Birthmother and the stigma associated with adoption. She is also a proud board member of the NEPA Pride Project. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family and close circle of friends and being a Bubbe to her granddaughter. She resides in Northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband, Michael, and the love of her life, Michael.
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