Six Excuses To Celebrate Jewishly This Summer

It's a Barren Season for Jewish Holidays — Until Now!

Kurt Hoffman

By Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic

Published June 23, 2013, issue of June 28, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Sadly, between Shavuot (May 15) and Rosh Hashanah (September 5) there is a shortage of Jewish holidays. Sure, there’s Tisha B’Av (July 15), a day to recall the destruction of the First and Second Temples and other Jewish tragedies. But who wants to throw a party on a fast day? Tu B’Av, the Israeli equivalent of Valentine’s Day, comes soon after (July 21). But outside of Israel, it’s a minor festival. And what if you’re single?

We Jews like having a holiday every few weeks or so. It gives us an excuse to get together, shmooze and overeat. (And while we love the Fourth of July, kosher hotdogs do not a Jewish holiday make.) In the name of anthropological research, we dug into the vault and uncovered a few unknown holidays observed by Jewish suburbanites around the country.

Won’t you join us in celebrating this summer? We will whip up an apple cake and set the table for 10.

Rosh To Barbecue

Kurt Hoffman

This festival celebrates the first evening you light the barbecue and decide it’s warm enough to eat dinner on the deck. Preparations for this holiday include scraping last year’s schmutz off the grill, sending someone to get the propane tank filled and stocking up on paper plates. Guests may come, bringing offerings of pasta salad and fruit pie. Although a menorah is not necessary, it is customary to kindle the citronella lights. This year, the holiday ritual of “swatting the mosquitoes” is being replaced by the “dodging of the cicadas.” On the Jewish calendar, 5773 is the year of return in their 17-year cycle. In your siddur on Rosh To Barbecue, read the alternative section, in red.

Pulke Day

Kurt Hoffman

The day when you pull on your bathing suit for the first time. It’s a hot day and you’ve been invited to a friend’s backyard pool, but your thighs are still large and white and dimpled as a pulke, or chicken thigh. (Even when your thighs are nice and tan, they will continue to be large and dimpled.) This little-known day of mourning — it’s nothing compared with Tisha B’Av — is primarily celebrated by women ages 35-65. Some choose to fast on this day, but that won’t help.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.