02.01.2014 01.Schwat.5774 Rosch Chodesch
Israel is ironically among the few countries that name the occasion after known anti-Semite, Pope Sylvester.
As people all over the world are getting ready to celebrate New Year's Eve, so too are some of the Israeli population gearing up for what they call "Sylvester." The hype, though, is by no means comparable to that in the diaspora, particularly since New Year's Day is not a public holiday in Israel. Sylvester was a fourth-century pope of the Catholic Church and a saint, who died on December 31, which is why many European countries adopted this name to mark the day of the Feast of the Pope, instead of New Year's Eve. The name reached Israel, seemingly due to the Ashkenazi influence, which is rather ironic since Sylvester is also known to have been viciously anti-Semitic; and according to the Jewish literacy website SimpleToRemember.com, January 1st was a day on which thousands of Jews were murdered. Which begs the question: should Jews be celebrating a day dedicated to an anti-Semite, as well as marking the turning of the Christian calendar?….