1 January is Sylvester Day יום סילבסטר

Once you know the history of Sylvester Day, you will just consider 1 January just a regular day and not a day to party.

Israeli-calendarIsraeli society flows according to the Jewish calendar. Schools and businesses are closed on Shabbat, and the whole country shuts down on Jewish holidays like Yom Kippur. For that reason the secular/Christian new year has little significance. Yet when some ultra-secularists discovered that most of the world holds a “New Years party,” they didn’t want to feel left out.Yet they couldn’t call it “New Years” because that title was already taken by Rosh Hashana. So the name Sylvester was adopted in its stead.

From Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Chapter 3 Law 2:

One should not follow the customs of the idolaters or be like them neither in (their) clothes, and not in (their) hair (styles), or the like; as it is said: 1 And ye shall not walk in the customs of the idolaters; and it is (again) said: 2 Neither shall ye walk in their statutes; and it is (again) said: 3 Take heed to thyself that thou be not ensnared to follow them…. Also everything that they do, of their customs or laws, even if one suspects that there is even the slightest idolatrous intent, a Jew should not imitate them. And so one should not cut his hair nor let the hair on his head grow as they do, but he should differ from them in his dress, his manner of speech, and the rest of his actions, just as he differs from them in his knowledge and his opinions. And so it is said: 7 I have set you apart from the peoples.

1) Leviticus 20:23 2) Leviticus 18:3 3) Deuteronomy 12.30 7) Leviticus 20:26

But why is 1 January named Sylvester Day?

Siege of Jerusalem - Year 1187

Siege of Jerusalem – Year 1187

Sylvester the Cat

Sylvester the Cat

In many European countries this day was named after Saint Sylvester. There have been three popes named Sylvester (who later became Saints), but the one after whom the day is named is Sylvester I (314-335). Christianity grew under his rule and it is believed that he died on December 31. In addition, during his rule it was believed that he had been swallowed by the Leviathan sea monster and that the monster would return in the year 1000 to destroy and kill. When it did not, people were relieved and they celebrated. The year before the Council of Nicaea convened, Sylvester convinced Constantine to prohibit Jews from living in Jerusalem. At the Council of Nicaea, Sylvester arranged for the passage of a host of viciously anti-Semitic legislation. All Catholic “Saints” are awarded a day on which Christians celebrate and pay tribute to that Saint’s memory. December 31 is Saint Sylvester Day – hence celebrations on the night of December 31 are dedicated to Sylvester’s memory.

Over the following centuries, the New Year reportedly brought much anti-Semitic activity:

On New Year’s Day 1577 Pope Gregory XIII decreed that all Roman Jews, under pain of death, must listen attentively to the compulsory Catholic conversion sermon given in Roman synagogues after Friday night services. On New Year’s Day 1578

Gregory signed into law a tax forcing Jews to pay for the support of a “House of Conversion” to convert Jews to Christianity. On New Year’s 1581 Gregory ordered his troops to confiscate all sacred literature from the Roman Jewish community. Thousands of Jews were murdered in the campaign. Throughout the medieval and post-medieval periods, January 1 – supposedly the day on which Jesus’ circumcision initiated the reign of Christianity and the death of Judaism – was reserved for anti-Jewish activities: synagogue and book burnings, public tortures, and simple murder.

example of anti-Semitic art work

The 1899 poster called “The Rat Catcher,” which depicts Jews as vermin and an economic threat to the German people.

Last week we celebrated Chanukah – the restoration of Jewish sovereignty, the restoration of once again living our national life according to our own calendar.

And this brings us back to the 10th of Tevet, which this year coincides with the Gregorian new year. It is distressing indeed to see Jews celebrating this day – as if it has any significance for us whatsoever! It is bad enough when Jews in the USA and Europe and other countries of exile hold new year’s parties on the 1st of January. But mired in exile, forced by circumstances to live their lives according to the Gregorian calendar – what else can we expect?

It is infinitely worse that Jews here in Israel have brought this paganism (yes, overt paganism) into our own country.

We often hear the casual excuses: It’s not a religious celebration; it’s simply an excuse for a party; it has no Christian or pagan significance. It is usually possible to conveniently ignore the contradiction.

10 Tevet - Jerusalem Under Siege

10 Tevet – Jerusalem Under Siege

But this year, the decision is starker. This year, for the first time since 5699 (1939), the 1st of January, Sylvester, coincides with the fast of the 10th of Tevet.

The choice is far more blatant. Fast or feast? Mourn over the destruction of Jerusalem? Or celebrate this highly unsavoury pope and “saint”, who was instrumental in convincing the Roman Emperor Constantine I, the first Christian Emperor of Rome, to prohibit Jews from living in Jerusalem.

Live and celebrate according to a foreign calendar, instituted by Pope Gregory XIII – as vicious a Jew-hater as any pope? Or live and mourn and celebrate according to our calendar, for which the Macabbees fought?

Or think about the morning after drinking:

Fiddler On The Roof quote: Golde (the wife) to her Husband: “Well, what happened last night, besides you drinking like a peasant?”

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini and Adolf Hitler December 1941

Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini and Adolf Hitler December 1941

Hitler Greets a Catholic Cardinal

Hitler Greets a Catholic Cardinal

10 Tevet was chosen to also serve as a “general kaddish day” for the victims of the Holocaust, many of whose day of martyrdom is unknown.

And the current history in Israel.

Jan 1, 1952 – Jerusalem 7 armed terrorists attacked and killed a 19 year-old girl in her home, in the neighborhood of Beit Yisrael.
Jan 1, 1965 – Palestinian terrorists attempted to bomb the National Water Carrier – the first attack carried out by the PLO’s Fatah faction.
Jan 1, 2001 – A car bomb exploded near a bus stop in the shopping district in the center of Netanya. About 60 people were injured, most lightly. One unidentified person, apparently one of the terrorists involved in the bombing, died of severe burns. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

Caroline Glick tells off Danish ambassador

JerPost Conf. 2: Caroline Glick

Jack Benny

  • Thug: This is a stickup! Now come on. Your money or your life.

[long pause]

  • Thug: [repeating] Look, bud, I said ‘Your money or your life.’
  • Jack Benny: I’m thinking I’m thinking!

It is time to stop thinking and come to Israel

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Hope kindergarten

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