The Scamp and the New Year

L’shanah tovah! Or, have a good new year for you goys.  Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, has finally arrived. It started sundown on the 1st of October, and ends at sundown tonight. As Kristie McCrum writes:

Mentioned in the Torah – in the book of Leviticus – as Yom Teruah, it’s translated as the Feast of Trumpets, or the Day of the Sounding of the Shofar.

It’s a traditional anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, and the Jewish Mishnah, from the Oral Torah, says it’s a “day of judgement”.

Jews believe God balances a person’s good deeds over the past year against their wrongdoings, so the day marks a time of reflection and penitence, and worshippers ask God for forgiveness.

It’s also the start of the agricultural cycle of sowing, growth, and harvest.

It is a time for families to come together and reflect on their year, as well as eat wonderfully sweet foods to envoke a sweet new year. The next five days lead to Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement. This is the holiest day in the Jewish religion, and the time when Jews are closest to God, and to their own soul. It is the day of forgiveness, and a clean slate for the new year.

I’m celebrating the new year by laying on my couch feeling crappy. Traveling is really hard on people who have Lupus, and I am feeling it today. While I have been hold up on my couch, I have been reflecting on the past year, and all that came with it. I think my wrongdoings outweigh my good deeds, but I am hoping that with a little help from my friends, family, and therapy that this next year will be different.

So I wish you all a good and sweet new year, and hope that my time of reflection over the next few days provides some clarity for the year ahead.

A Scamp Learns the Difference Between Knowledge and Wisdom

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit.

Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

That’s what I took away from my class yesterday (thanks Tim). The philosophy class of my nightmares spent a lot of time yesterday talking about the difference between knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. There were some in the class that looked at it like a linear progression, first you gain knowledge, and from that knowledge comes wisdom, and from that wisdom comes understanding. A lot of them mentioned that the people they consider wise are the ones that are older, the ones that have lived and have a lot of experience under their belt. I’m trying not to be the devil’s advocate, but I think that age does not necessarily determine wisdom.

Today is the first day of the Jewish New Year. This day also marks the one year anniversary of the day I left for Scotland. I was excited, nervous, and completely looking forward to my adventure. The start of the Jewish new year is about reflecting and atoning. While there is no way I could possibly begin to reflect on the entire year of adventures (or misdeeds for that matter), I can say that I am a much wiser person.

Last year at this time my post about the new year was filled with worry that I was not a good enough Jew to be with David. I was worried about fitting in with his family, and being able to become the type of Jewish wife that he wanted. At the time I was worried that I was never going to be good enough, and that I was going to be spending the 70 years catching up to where I should have been. Last year I was missing home, missing David, and missing the connection to other Jewish people.

This year I am missing Scotland. In that moment last year I thought I had my life all planned out. I was going to marry my Jewish lawyer and raise good Jewish babies in San Diego. I thought that was what I wanted. I thought that was part of being an adult, settling down and having your life figured out. In this moment now, I have no idea what I am going to do tomorrow, much less the next 70 years. I have the deep understanding though that I would not have been happy in that life. I’m currently mostly single, in a doctoral program, and have no real job to speak of. The only thing I know for sure is that I no longer have a plan…..and that scares me. I’m not an adult yet (and really have no idea how to be one), I don’t know if I want to be an adult (because who wants to worry about paying bills), and I worry that being an adult means the end of my wanderlusting ways. Adults don’t pick up and move to other countries on a whim. Adults don’t nap in the afternoon sun on a Wednesday to clear their heads, and adults don’t rush home from class to go to comedy clubs with their best friend.

The thing is, I have the wisdom and understanding to know that I do not have to grow up right this second.  Today I was reading a blog (you can find it here: and a picture on the blog really stuck out to me.



Sarah, the author of the post is going through something very similar (and has written it out much more eloquently than I have) and this picture really reminded me that it is okay that I am a little lost right now. It is okay that my plans now are different than my plans a year ago. If I was still on that life path, I would not be at Fullerton pursuing my doctoral degree, and right at this moment I would be sitting in temple feeling awkward and out of place. I may be lost and worried about the future right now, but like my grandma always said, take care of today and worry about tomorrow tomorrow.

I know in the end all the dots will connect and everything will work out, but in the meantime I am just going to put one foot in front of the other and see where that takes me.

I wish all of my friends, Jewish and otherwise, a happy and healthy new year full of adventures, laughs, and lots of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding.

Happy 29th of Elul, 5773