Eid mubarak and l'shana tova to everyone
As I began writing this, a man in Florida still was deciding whether to burn a book. Not a whole lot of people wanted him to, though I imagine one who would is the caller who left a message responding to an Aug. 29 national story, "Why are so man...
As I began writing this, a man in Florida still was deciding whether to burn a book. Not a whole lot of people wanted him to, though I imagine one who would is the caller who left a message responding to an Aug. 29 national story, "Why are so many hostile toward Islam?"
"Are you (expletive) people real or what? Do you guys have a (double expletive) brain in your (expletive) head?" he said. "They should take a (expletive) busload of you (plural expletive) and send you over to some (expletive) Muslim country for six months on a one-way ticket with no way of return just to see how they (expletive) treat you and see what you guys think about Islam when you (expletive) come back, if you survive that long."
He left his number, if accidentally, through caller ID, though you'll forgive me for not calling back. Among other reasons, I didn't get the message until after the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, when I was in synagogue.
The services were inspiring enough that afterward, I went online and changed my Facebook status to "l'shana tova," Hebrew for "for a good year." For whatever reason, I decided to search the millions of others on Facebook to see who else was saying it.
Thousands were, it appeared, but to my surprise, at least a third didn't have obviously Jewish names. That doesn't mean they weren't Jewish, as my own surname attests, but it does imply that the religion is more diverse than people think and also that a lot of non-Jewish people thought it nice to post the greeting.
That was enlightening, but not as much as what showed up next. Rosh Hashanah this year coincided with Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim celebration marking the end of Ramadan. Some postings said both l'shana tova and eid mubarak -- "blessed festival" -- and I began to search for both terms, again finding too many to count.
Most read "Eid mubarak to my Muslim friends and l'shana tova to my Jewish friends," but some had more specific stories to tell. A Sidney Goldman wrote of an Iftar (Ramadan fast-breaking)/Rosh Hashanah dinner celebrated by 86 Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem. Several sent wishes to "my Muslim cousins and my Jewish cousins," both literally and figuratively. Mitul Lapasia of Mundra, India, expanded it to include "Michhami Dukkadam to all my Jain friends and Ganpati Bappa Maurya to all Indians."
And my favorite was Gabriella Bruno of Spain, who wrote: "To my Muslim friends -- Eid Mubarak. To my Jewish friends -- Happy New Year. To everyone else -- where are we going drinking tonight?"
All right, I recognize that a few thousand postings among half a billion Facebook users doesn't constitute a quorum for peace and love on the planet, but it's something, isn't it? With that, I amended my own status to: "l'shana tova and eid mubarak (and any other way of saying it!)"
And that goes out as well to the caller, and the man who didn't burn the book.
Robin Washington is editor of the News Tribune. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .