Sunday, August 26, 2012

End of Summer, Back to School

Israeli kids are returning to school, and the teachers are returning to work a week earlier than usual.  Today's the big day.  It's still August, not the traditional September 1.

For years there has been talk of shortening summer vacation aka חופש הגדול Chofesh HaGadol, The Long/Big Vacation and giving a bit more time off in the winter or just increasing school days or using the extra time to round off holiday weekends etc.

One of the reasons that this year is very good for an early return to school is that 5773 Rosh Hashannah "falls early" in September, and there won't be enough school days before the Jewish Holiday season begins.

The Jewish Calendar and the solar Christian ones aren't the same.  The twelve month lunar calendar has fewer days than the solar one which is based on the four seasons coming the right time and the same months every year.  The Jewish Calendar is adjusted every few years according to a very accurate formula.  This  year's Rosh Hashannah isn't the earliest it can be.  Next year, 5774 will have an even earlier one, but then there will be an additional winter month between Shvat and Adar called Adar Alef (the first.)  Purim and all plain Adar birthdays and yartzeits will be in Adar Bet.  We use a nineteen year cycle to keep our Holidays in line with the right seasons.

The Muslims keep a twelve month lunar calendar, and their holidays travel around the solar cycle calendar.  This was a tough year for Muslims in this part of the world, because their month long Ramadan fast was in the heat of the summer. 

At work, Yafiz-Clothing for the Entire Family, Sha'ar Binyamin, we had a busy time selling to Arabs celebrating their Eid-al-Fitr end of Ramadan holiday and to Jews buying clothes for the upcoming school year.  Both groups took advantage of our end of season sales. 

Now that the Muslims are back to work and the Jews are back to school, we'll be selling Holiday clothes to wear Rosh Hashannah, Yom Kippur and Succot.  After that there will be winter clothes.  And then there are sales and...

I'm glad to be at this end of the pre-school year hustle and bustle.  I don't have to buy school books, clothes, prepare lessons etc.


Jennifer in MamaLand said...

Hey, I just read about the shortened Chofesh over Shabbos in my "Ivrit Kal" (ie For Dummies) JPost magazine. (I just got the Av issue on Friday. :-o)

Not sure what the big deal is, though; things usually start after Labour Day here, but two years ago, the Jewish schools pushed it back because of an early Rosh Hashanah... makes sense to me; I'd have thought they'd have done it before in Israel.

Batya said...

We've done it before, but this year it's part of a bigger plan.