By Samara Cogan
We are now into the solar calendar year of 2018! I try to make at least one New Year's resolution every year. Some are successful (buy fewer books by going to the library instead!), and some are ... not (start running every day; yeah, that's not happening). This year, I'm going to take on three Jewish-centric resolutions.
1. Learn how to cook Jewish food
My first experience with attempting to cook Jewish food was trying to make hamantashen with my Grandma Yetta and my sister. I have no idea what went wrong with the dough we made, but those cookies were hard as rocks. My next Jewish cooking experience was many years later when I was finally deemed old enough by my family to contribute my own dish to our Passover seder. I made a delicious batch of charoset that I was pretty proud of. One failure and one success so far. At some point last year, I bought matzo so I could test out a fried matzo recipe. One thing led to another, and I was very busy, so it just never happened. I still have a full box of matzo in the cupboard, waiting to be fried. It's probably stale by now, but honestly, I'm not sure I would be able to taste the difference anyway. So, this is the year! I'm frying that matzo and hopefully testing out some more recipes.
2. Read more works by Jewish authors
I was completely spoiled in college because I took so many Jewish Studies courses that I always had something Jewish to read. As a college graduate, I now have to find my own reading materials. So far, my list of books to read includes Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, Born to Kvetch by Michael Wex and I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron. There are plenty of works to choose from, but I'm starting with a small sampling of Jewish American writers first. Of course, I'm always open to recommendations!
3. Take a more active and structured approach to tikkun olam
This is perhaps my most meaningful resolution, but also the most difficult to get started on. There are so many worthy causes that I could devote my time to, so my first step is going to have to be picking a lane and committing to one thing. Once I've done that, I'm hoping to find a local group to volunteer with on a regular basis. I already donate monthly to several non-profits, which I highly recommend if you have the means! Recurring donations, instead of one-time donations, are vital for an organization that needs stable funding. However, I would also like to incorporate my time and effort, as well as my money, to my tikkun olam activities.
I hope everyone has a wonderful new year!