New Year's in the Talmud

The rabbis of the Talmud speculated about the nature of the Roman New Year's celebration.

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Presupposed by all these talmudic explanations is the firm conviction that January 1st is not merely a Roman civil holiday, but a pagan religious celebration. According to the Talmud, by participating in its festivities, Jews would be showing honor to idols and to their most hated enemy, the "Kingdom of Wickedness," Rome.

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Eliezer Segal

Dr. Eliezer Segal is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Calgary. A native of Montreal, he holds a PhD in Talmud from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the author of Holidays, History, and Halakhah, and many of his writings can be found on his personal website.