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18 Things You Should Do Before Rosh Hashanah

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08/26/2014

Chai List photo

Not that we have anything against highs in the mid-70s, but as the calendar inches closer and closer to September (seriously, WHAT??), it’s kinda hard to believe that was it for summer this year. It’s been a joy pretending to live in northern California, but it’s time to face the truth, Oy!sters: fall and 5775 are fast-approaching, and with them sweaters, boots, and (even) cooler temps. We can practically taste the pumpkin spice lattes already.

That said, there are still a few weeks left to stock up on fresh air before you pack your bags for the suburbs or buy your plane ticket home for Rosh Hashanah and settle onto the couch for hibernation. 

Chicago tradition dictates the aggressive enjoyment of nice weather until the LAST DAMN DAY WE CAN, right? With that in mind, from our rooftop barstool to yours, here are Oy!Chicago’s top picks for sending 5774 off with a bang:

 

1. Go to the beach.

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Remember the photos people took along the lake during the polar vortex? That should be all the motivation you need to enjoy the sand before it becomes that other four-letter “s”-word … no, no,  the other four-letter “s”-word, but point well taken.

 

2. Walk, jog or bike along the lake

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It sure makes a lovely backdrop for selfies! Plus, that cool lake breeze is nice now, but by October … forget it.

 

3. Take advantage of free gym promotions

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You’ve gotta stay svelte to fit in that High Holiday suit or modest post-Labor Day dress, and end-of-season promotions make it easy to get a jump on (Jewish) New Year’s Resolutions without breaking the bank.

 

4. Get your festival fix

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Even in September, there are still festivals for the rest of y’alls. And we all know there’s no such thing as too many craft beers and meats on a stick. There’s the Windy City Wine Festival downtown, Logan Square Beer Festival, Riot Fest in Humboldt Park and more.

 

5. Explore a neighborhood you don’t go to often

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It’s so much easier to get out and about when the temps aren’t sub-zero. Enjoy Chicago before your brain convinces you the city limits are the walls of your living room.

 

6. Get your grill on

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Nothing keeps summer cooking like tan lines and grill lines.

 

7. Visit Hot Doug’s for a last hurrah

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Pairs well with No. 6. (Memorial tattoos optional.) Hot dog doomsday is Oct. 4.

 

8. Finally learn how to make that classic family recipe

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Now is finally the time to take your rightful place as heir to the family (matzo ball, gefilte fish, brisket, bundt cake, etc.) recipe. Your matriarch or patriarch will be kvelling when you’ve perfected their dish in time for Rosh Hashanah dinner.

 

9. Be a tourist in your own city

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We always tell our friends summer is the best time to visit. Take your own advice and remind yourself what you love about our city! Take a ride on the Navy Pier Ferris wheel or a cruise down the Chicago River.

 

10. Volunteer

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It’s never too early to get those brownie points for the Book of Life considerations. Help out at a community garden while the ground isn’t frozen stiff, or serve a meal at a shelter. Check out a full list of fall mitzvah opportunities.

 

11. Clean out your wardrobe and donate some clothes

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As you prepare for your annual purging of sin, why not purge your wardrobe of stuff you no longer need? Check out these resale shops for some ideas for where to take your old clothes.

 

12. Reach out to friends you haven’t talked to in awhile

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Some friendships get lost in the busy buzz of summertime. Before you reconnect with your soul during the holidays, reconnect with the people in your life (especially if you have someone to apologize to or forgive, because that would be very timely).

 

13. Make some new friends

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If No. 12 fails, then it’s time to make new friends! There are so many ways to meet people in the city and this is the perfect time of year for making new connections. If you want to add to your Jewish circle, definitely think about joining a JUF LEADS group which starts right before Rosh Hashanah (very convenient for inquiring Jewish mothers and grandmothers).

 

14. Go on a road-trip

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Doesn’t summer just make you wanna roll the windows down, turn the radio up, and cru-uuuuise…? (No? Just me, Florida Georgia and Nelly? Really?) Anyway, this is a great time to check in on the old alma mater or check out somewhere else that will be impossible to traverse in the winter.

 

15. Check out a Friday night service or community minyan

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You don’t have to wait until the high holidays!

 

16. Take advantage of one of the endless free activities in MillenniumPark

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Movies, music, yoga, Zumba, summerdance … it’s straight up better than YouTube over there.

 

17. Catch the fireworks at Navy Pier

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Because every New Year should be rung in with Fireworks.

 

18. Go apple picking

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For that trendy “farm to table” Rosh Hashanah touch.

 

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