As most of you know, my mom’s birthday falls 6 days before mine. I always like to say that I was the best birthday present she ever got; even if I was a few days late. When I was wishing her a happy birthday, it dawned on me how closely our birthdays would be falling to Rosh Hashana. I felt like that had to mean something. It had to be a sign from the cosmos that these two dates were going to almost coincide. Although it was my secular birthday that fell closer to Rosh Hashana, it still made me stop to consider the deeper meaning that lie somewhere within.
Rosh Hashana, while commonly referred to as the New Year, is also a birthday. Tradition teaches that Rosh Hashana commemorates the creation of Man Kind. That the world really began 5 days before and was completed with the creation of man on Rosh Hashana. It was a nice realization to almost feel as if I could not only press the restart button on myself, but on the whole world. It also felt really nice to be celebrating my birthday in a place that I was, and continue to be, so excited to be in. I’m embarking on an amazing journey that I feel as if I’ve been preparing for my entire life. Everything that has happened so far has lead me to this year, this moment. Ringing in my birthday in a place so full of life, joy, learning, culture, food, and inspiration feels incomparable to any feeling that I’ve felt before.
I think I’ve finally settled into my groove and every moment that I’m in class is inspiring. Someone asked me the other day why I take so many notes during class. Immediately, I responded, “Because I want to remember every thing from this entire year.” I’m incredibly excited for the things that I’m going to learn, the skills that I will acquire, the people that I will meet, the interactions that I will be a part of and the places that I will go!
Speaking of meeting amazing people, I was a little nervous about my birthday being so close to the start of the year. Would I have anyone to celebrate with? Would I have a good day? Would I wish that I was back at home? My day went pretty much like our other days at Pardes, full of class. Numerous people sang to me, including one of my teachers who wrote the world to Happy Birthday in Hebrew on the board so that everyone could follow along. Towards the end of the day, I tried to gather some people to go into town for celebratory waffles. However, everyone was pretty hesitant. Nobody seemed eager to go, they either had other plans, didn’t really feel like it, or simply ignored my requests.
I returned home after class feeling almost defeated. My birthday was coming to a close, my family was calling to tell me that they were upset that we weren’t together, and I was starting to feel stressed about my upcoming travels and holiday plans. One of my roommates was sick in bed with a migraine, the other was slowly mulling around in our apartment. With stress on my mind, the obvious thing to do was cook and clean. I took my time carefully cleaning our kitchen and preparing birthday bourekas and the time passed by. After dinner, my roommate said, “Can you come up to the roof? I found something the other day that I want to show you.” Had I lived with my roommates a little longer, I may have picked up on their weird behavior. But, since it is early in our budding relationship, I kind of just went along with it.
The last thing that I expected was my friends to be waiting on the roof, ready to yell SURPRISE! But that’s exactly what I found! I felt so cared for and loved and surprised! It was so confirming of my choice to be a part of the Pardes community.
Thanks to my roommate’s fake migraine, the party even included Mazel Tov balloons! She went in her room, turned off the lights, and blew them up – good cover up.
Can’t forget the “Yom Huledet Sameach” banner!
All in all, it was a pretty great night! Great friends, awesome throwback tunes, and cheesecake!