A Few Events…

“Monday Musings” for Monday September 10, 2018
Volume V!!I. No. 37/401


Rosh Hashanah, Jewish Year 5779

By Assad Meymandi, MD, PhD, ScD (Hon), DLFAPA*

This is a very busy week for calendars of faiths. Besides Rosh Hashanah,  the beginning of Jewish New Year, Yom Kippur, the most solemn Holy Day which this year takes place on September 18; Tishrei and Sukkot the most joyous day in the Jewish calendar are all crowded in the span of 10 days. Also, there is the Constitution Day on September 17 which most purists, like my household, consider and celebrate as a Holy day in itself. In addition, our beloved North Carolina Symphony starts its 83nd season on September 20 featuring virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell. Here ae some reflection on each occasion.

Constitution Day

The US Constitution is 231 years old.  We wish it a Happy birthday, its 231th.  On September 17, 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention met for the last time to sign the document they had created. We encourage all Americans to observe this important day in our nation’s history by attending local events in your area. Celebrate Constitution Day through activities, learning, parades and demonstrations of our Love for the United State of America and the Blessings of Freedom Our Founding Fathers secured for us. If you forgot to celebrate the Constitution Day yesterday, it is not too late.  You and your family can do it today.

Rosh Hashanah, Jewish year 5779

Sundown, day after tomorrow, September 20, 2017 will mark the beginning of Rosh Hashanah. The etymology of the word Rosh Hashanah is RAAS (HEAD OR BEGINNING) AL (OF) SENNEH (YEAR or DATE), THUS ROSH HASHANAH, the beginning of calendar.  The Jewish year is 5779 (1st ofTishrei, a joyous occasion for all Jews). Some reflections:

Moses was born 1590 BC, and reportedly lived 120 years until 1470 BC. Scholarship about the birth of Moses, 3608 years ago and Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish calendar 5779 years ago is very interesting. The relationship between the two dates has gone through many twists and turns. The struggles very much remind me of the struggle of C-major and C-minor in Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, battling back and forth for attention and primacy. The final note is the celebratory C-major coming through triumphantly. The currently perceived resolution of these two competing dates is simply that it was approximately 6,000 years ago when the world’s oldest religions simultaneously began to emerge. Abram of Ur, renamed Abraham by the Lord (Genesis 17), had much to do with this remarkable emergence. We could say that this year marks 5779th year of the dawning of the human awareness of God…and the dawn of monotheism. It sends a chill down one’s spine to get in touch with human connectedness and human history. It is regrettable to neglect the fact that all of us Jews, Christians and Moslems are children of Abraham and as such should love one another like brothers and sisters.


Occasions like Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Islam’s Eid-Al Fetr, celebrating completion of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, worship, and purgation of the soul (was observed on June 14, 2018), Easter Sunday and Purim, the Jewish Holiday that marks liberation of the Jews by Cyrus the Great (Book of Esther), collectively elevate our awareness that we are children of God and regardless of labels that separate us, we are inextricably inter-connected.  We wish everyone not only a joyful 5779 but a fruitful and consequential life. The other holy occasion is Yom Kippur which will begin at sundown on September 18, 2018.

Next week’s “MM” will be devoted to Yom Kippur and a book review on Moses Maimonides of Cordoba, the Rabbi, the formidable physician/clinician, the awe-inspiring medical researcher and discoverer, the superb medical ethicist, and the remarkable writer. Shana tova.

 Music: Mankind’s Savior

Seeing Mozart’s masterpiece, Idomeneo, in any venue, any city, and at anytime is a good reminder that Mozart was an ordinary man with all the flaws and scars of alcoholism, syphilis (from Pamena of Magic Flute), kidney failure and periodic bankruptcy, with an extraordinary and truly God-like mind to produce and write music of such complexity, architectural soundness of structure, yet immense sublimity and transcendence, that is beyond any mortal’s comprehension. The gift of Mozart is available to all lovers of music.  The memorable production of Idomeneo by the Metropolitan Opera is super special.  The unusual assembly of the international cast involved countries of Australia, England, Canada, South Africa, India, New Zeeland, and France. Our own Maestro James Levine, veteran Met Opera Music Director (now, emeritus), and now conductor of the Boston Symphony, born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio,  who conducted the feast, was America’s contribution. The virtuous performance of the star-studded cast and Levine’s skillful directing once again proved that music is the universal language of peace, understanding and love.


*The writer is Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill, Distinguished Life fellow American Psychiatric Association, and Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief, Wake County Physician Magazine (1995-2012). He received Raleigh Medal of Art in 2001, inducted to Raleigh Hall of Fame 2013, elected Lifetime Trustee, North Carolina Symphony in 2015, and 2016 recipient of NC Award, Fine Arts.

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