Fitness instructor Cathleen Kronemer: Putting the ‘new’ in the New Year


Cathleen Kronemer

CATHLEEN KRONEMER, Special to the Jewish Light

As the leaves turn from verdant green to robust shades of orange, yellow and red, losing their tenuous hold on the tree branches and drifting aimlessly downward, Jews recognize this as not only heralding the coming of autumn but also the advent of the Jewish High Holy Days.

Soon the savory fragrance of homemade chicken soup will fill kitchens, and plump round challahs will release their rich aroma from warm ovens. Apples and honey make their appearance on grocery lists, along with brisket and other traditional culinary delights.

Our High Holy season carries with it many beautiful customs, including candle-lighting, the sounding of the shofar, and the metaphorical “casting of sins” known as tashlich.

A lesser-known custom embraced during the Rosh Hashanah season involves trying out something new, either just prior to or immediately following the holiday. Options abound, from cultivating a new hobby or cracking the cover of a book to visiting a new destination. Some Jews choose to purchase special holiday clothes, waiting to wear them until Erev Rosh Hashanah.

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The evolution of this practice came about as a means of acknowledging the newness of the Jewish calendar year. Doing or learning something novel in your own life may spark stimulating conversations with family and friends about what new endeavors they chose to take on, or what unprecedented events they expect to unfold through the coming year.

We have already witnessed unprecedented worldwide events in the past 18 months. This year, how about more positive endeavors? If you have never before contemplated joining a fitness center, now might serve as the perfect time to embark on this journey to improved health. Already a member? Consider stepping into a new Group Exercise class and starting a habit that is upbeat, social, and fitness-minded. If you have a passion for cooking, experiment with recipes featuring out-of-the-ordinary vegetables or spices. If the notion of shifting to a vegan menu has been on your radar, the new year might just provide the impetus you need to step into a fresh and health-conscious lifestyle.

As you prepare for the High Holy Days this fall, consider the newness of the upcoming 12 months. 365 blank-slate days lie ahead…what will you choose?

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach, is a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center. She is also a member of the St. Louis Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.