My daughter goes to Jewish pre-school and its closed tomorrow for Shemini Atzerat. It will be the third week since school started that she's off for two and a half days because of Jewish holidays.
Now, I know most of my readers aren't Jewish and I'd love to get you up to speed but I can't because I've never heard of Shemini Atzerat, either. Forty years of being Jewish and I've never had a day off for this holiday. No one has ever made my feel guilty about not going to Synagogue for it, nobody made fun of me for not knowing what it was in Hebrew School, nothing.
Here's the story from MyJewishLearning.com:
God grows nostalgic, as it were, and pensive. The people of Israel will not come together again in such numbers until Passover six months hence. God will soon miss the sounds of music and pleasure and the unity of the people. The Torah decreed, therefore, an eighth day of assembly, a final feast/holy day. … this day, Shemini Atzeret, is a reprise of the celebration of Sukkot but without any of the rituals. The message is that all the rituals and symbolic language are important but ultimately they remain just symbols.If you can't read between the lines this is a holiday because there are so many freaking Jewish holidays this time of year. In other words, it's Holiday Day. Now, in Israel where they don't have time to screw around, Shemini Atzerat is merged into Simchat Torah (which is a legitimate holiday). But here in Brooklyn, not only is it a seperate holiday but Gwen's pre-school closes for Erav Shemini Atzerat aka Shemini Atzerat Eve aka Holiday Day Eve! Do Christians celebrate Chistmas Eve Eve? What about the month of pre-Ramadan for the Muslims?
Anyway, I'm outraged, as always.