May 23, 2024
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May 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Welcome back to “How Should I Know?”—the column that more and more readers are turning to every day by accident.

Dear Mordechai,

Is it just me, or is Rosh Hashanah really early this year?

Running Late

Dear Running,

Here’s a news flash: Rosh Hashanah is early every year. It’s the first day of the year. It can’t really get much earlier.

But yeah, it’s very early in the school year, if that’s what you’re asking. And there’s really no reason for it. There’s no halacha that says that summer vacation has to be in July and August specifically. If Shavuos is early (it’s not—it’s still 50 days from Pesach) we should have summer vacation early, as long as we can get every yeshiva everywhere to agree on the dates. That shouldn’t be hard.

In fact, July and August is the worst two-month stretch for a summer vacation, considering that, for three weeks of it, the camps can’t do anything overly fun, and for nine days of it, they can’t even go swimming.

Maybe we should do what they do in the southern hemisphere, where they have summer vacation from Chanukah to Purim. Sure, their kids don’t really learn about Tu B’Shvat, but how much do our schools really teach about Tu B’Shvat? Most people are still not 100% sure what it means to have a Rosh Hashanah for trees. When’s their Yom Kippur?

Of course, in the southern hemisphere they say things like, “Boy, the Rosh Hashanah for trees is really early this year!”

“It’s early every year. For trees.”

Though, speaking as a teacher, I don’t know if I like the idea of starting the school year with Purim. The students are never the same after Purim.

Dear Mordechai,

I have an art addiction that began this summer. I sit on my porch and place tiny little gems on a sticky canvas all day. I don’t want to bathe my kids or take care of anything else. Have you heard of anyone else with an arts and crafts addiction? Could you suggest a treatment?


Dear Addicted,

Become a kindergarten teacher. That way you can make tons of arts and crafts while ignoring kids professionally! All you have to do is change your name to Rivky, apply for the job and walk in with projects that are way too hard for 5-year-olds to do on their own.

In fact, maybe you can be a playgroup teacher. The younger the kids, the more of their project you get to do yourself while putting their names on it to pretend they did it. And then you get to send it home to the parents, who will proudly display your project on their fridge. It can be your little secret.

In fact, here are some of the exciting projects that you can make over the course of the year: A laminated honey placemat shaped like an apple! Slippers made out of construction paper! A flag with a picture of a Torah on it! A cutaway diagram of the teivah featuring animal stickers, people stickers and a family-appropriate way of showing what was on the bottom floor! A tent with four doors! A covered well, featuring a schnapps cup! A face that when you turn it one way, it’s a frowning rasha, and the other way, it’s a smiling tzaddik who has gone bald! A colorful coat made out of a paper shopping bag! A necklace for a grape juice bottle! A series of paper hats—or, if you make them slightly too big, a series of choker necklaces! A man made entirely out of foods that start with the same bracha! A highly flammable menorah! A gragger made primarily of beans (the musical fruit)! A Megillas Esther in a pringles can! A little Har Sinai made out of an inverted bowl! A kittel made out of one of Totty’s old shirts! A thick construction-paper Haggadah featuring everything you can possibly put in a craft project, including tin foil, green tissue paper, a sheep made entirely of cotton balls, several cut-up pieces of towel and potato-starch macaroni!

On the other hand, this is an addiction, and I don’t know why I’m enabling you, or putting you around impressionable kids to whom you’re clearly going to teach your addiction. Maybe your loved ones should just get together and have an intervention for you.

Ask them if you can make the banner!

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Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He has also published seven books and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].

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