Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Holiday Timing

In the Hebrew calendar (which long predates the Gregorian), the Month of Tishrei contains a long series of holidays.

1 and 2 Tishrei are Rosh Hashanah (it is a 2-day holiday even in the Land of Israel);

10 Tishrei is Yom Kippur;

15 Tishrei begins the Festival of Sukkot. The first day is one during which religiously-observant Jews such as myself do not engage in activities such as working, switching electricity on or off (this includes booting up on the computer), riding in a motor vehicle, et cetera. Outside the land of Israel, 16 Tishrei is also such a day [a practice from ancient times, before computers and televisions and radios, when those outside the Land of Israel did not know for certain when the Rabbinical Court confirmed the sighting of the full moon, so two days were observed to ensure that the proper day was kept.].

On the intermediate days of Sukkot most of the aforementioned activities are permitted.

But the Festival of Sukkot ends with Shmini Atzeret on 22 Tishrei and Simchat Torah on 23 Tishrei (in Israel, the two occur on the same day, 22 Tishrei), which day/days are also days where we do not do the various aforementioned activities.

Charitable giving in the Jewish community tends to run high around this time of year, (A) because the giving of charity ("tzedaka" in Hebrew) is viewed favorably by G-d when He judges us during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur; and (B) on account of this, Jewish tzedaka organizations tend to go full throttle with their solicitation campaigns.

My wife and I have, in addition to our regular checking account, a special Tzedaka checking account, into which we deposit about 10% of our paychecks and other income. From that account we write our tzedaka checks. In addition to simplifying our records for tax purposes, it also induces a good tzedaka discipline.

So what did I get in the mail today? A solicitation from a religious Jewish organization (I shall not embarrass anyone by naming it) for their fundraising dinner in about 3 weeks. Having just emptied our Tzedaka Account, for us to purchase a full-page Journal Advertisement would place a strain on our budget. Had we known of this fundraising dinner we before the holidays we likely would have gone with at least a full-page ad, inasmuch as one of the honorees is the son of some old friends of ours.

Their timing is piss poor on this one!

Tonight begins Shmini Atzeret. To all, Chag Sameach (Happy Holiday)!

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