“What a long, strange trip it’s been.” The Grateful Dead didn’t have the past six or so months in mind when they released the song “Truckin’” in 1977, but it’s an apt description of the way our world has been turned upside down.

We may have gotten into a hand-washing rhythm, but seeing masks on all the faces we encounter (hopefully!) is still unsettling. And it’s not the pandemic alone that has upset our sense of stability—racially motivated violence, forest fires, hurricanes, an economic downturn and a turbulent political season, all processed under physical distancing, contribute to a sense that 2020 can’t end soon enough. We can take a little comfort, though, in the knowledge that we will flip the calendar on one new year a little sooner, when Rosh Hashanah marks the onset of 5781 (Sept. 18-19). Changes for the better may lie ahead.

How can we possibly celebrate a new year when the current one is so challenging? CJP would like to sweeten your new year and also help create a feeling of connectedness. Of all the holiday greetings one might imagine, the wish for a “sweet new year” stands alone. Wishes for a “happy” new year—and this year, in particular, for a happy and healthy New Year—make more sense.   

Honey first appears in the Book of Genesis as one of the gifts that Joseph’s brothers bring down to Egypt in their quest for grain. In the Book of Exodus, the land of Israel is referred to as a “land of milk and honey.” Honey was also a teaching tool—more than 700 years ago, teachers would dab honey on the letters of the Hebrew alphabet so children would associate reading and learning with sweetness. And as early as the 13th century, it was customary to dip apples in honey and wish for a shanah metukah, a sweet new year.

With “Rosh Hashanah in a Box,” CJP will help ensure that you get the new year off to a sweet start. We’ll send you a full-sized jar of honey, some other sweet treats and surprises, and postcards that you can send to others to wish them a sweet new year in turn. Sign-ups will be open until Sept. 9, while supplies last. Register here!


Whether you need a boost to the sweetness of your new year or not, join our Boston-area Jewish community for a Rosh Hashanah Seder on Monday, Sept. 14, at 6:30 p.m.

Haven’t heard of a seder for Rosh Hashanah? Don’t worry—most people haven’t. It’s an old Sephardic tradition highlighting a series of foods that represent different aspirations for the new year, and it’s related to the well-known custom of dipping apples in honey. This is a great opportunity to try something new and celebrate virtually with friends from around Greater Boston. Learn more and register here.

You’ve heard it often these past six months: We may not all be in the same boat, but we’re navigating a common storm. Let’s spend some time together and feel a little less distant and a lot more like it’s the holidays.

We wish you a happy, healthy, uplifting and abundantly sweet year!