Exploring the Nuances of Language and Identity in Celebrating the Civil New Year
This is definitely not an easy period, but here we are at the threshold of the new Gregorian or civil year. But as they say, 'We have fun at parties,' and we too have found a Hebrew angle to mark the beginning of 2024:
📅 'End the year and it's curses': The end of the year 2023 will finally free us from correcting a common mistake. One should say 'Goodbye to two thousand and twenty-three' (להתראות אלפיים עשרים ושלוש) – we hope no one will manage to mess up the pronunciation of two thousand and twenty-four (אלפיים עשרים וארבע).
📅 What one should say - שנה אזרחית OR שנה לועזית? On the 'Historical Jewish Journalism' website, one can find documentation of the term 'שנה אזרחית' as early as 1935, and it may have been in use even before then. It's not entirely clear why the new year was called the 'שנה אזרחית.' One can assume, and this is just a hypothesis, that it was so named because the holiday we celebrate on this day is not a religious one.
Abba Bendavid, who was a language advisor at the Broadcasting Authority for many years, rejected the term 'שנה אזרחית', arguing that even those who primarily follow the Hebrew or Muslim calendar are citizens.