I am a stickler for tradition.
That being said, I am not unpliable.
The Jewish calendar gives shape and momentum to my life.
Each week gears up and moves towards Shabbat. Fifty-two times a year, I think about eighteen minutes prior to sundown on Friday and work my way backwards. What shall I serve for dinner? Will I be baking challah on Friday morning or will it need to happen earlier in the week? When will I go marketing for the Sabbath meal? And if I go marketing on Wednesday or Thursday, when will get the flowers for my Shabbos table? I don’t like to get flowers prior to Friday because it doesn’t seem as special. Throughout the year are the holidays. How will they affect the kids’ schedules? Warren’s work schedule? When will the marketing get done? And so forth.
I love the Jewish calendar partially because it adds a Jewish layer dimension to my daily life. Holidays are observed on the proper date on the Jewish calendar. As are the anniversaries of those who have died.
Today is the anniversary of the death of my grandmother, z”l, according to the Gregorian calendar. For all other relatives, I go by the Hebrew calendar. But due to the particular circumstances of my grandmother’s death, it is the Gregorian date that holds more meaning. When she died on 24 Shevat 5770, it was 8 February 2010. Which was the day after my grandparents’ sixty-sixth wedding anniversary. She waited. She waited. My grandfather had her intubated on the 7th, and my grandmother waited into the wee hours on the following day to die.
It is this day which holds so much meaning. And it is on this day that my family and I remember. We eat round foods to remind us that life is cyclical. Particularly Entenmann’s Rich Frosted Donuts because (a) she loved them, (b) she had them in the house for my kids, and (c) they associate the donuts with her.
Because even though it is not her “official” yahrtzeit (which we do verbally acknowledge), it is the day that reminds us of a love that is stronger than death.