1. You can no longer find cherries anywhere, but the first blood-red pomegranates are in all the markets and even on some of the trees (like the one in my backyard).
2. You hear the sound of the shofar! (If you are jogging in the streets at 7am, or, um, attending Shacharit – I guess.)
3. The pizza parlors and ice cream shops are crowded with frum 18-year-olds from America in knee socks (knee socks!), all just arrived for a year of yeshiva study, playing with their cell phones/Ipods/cameras (who can tell the difference?) while chewing big wads of bubble gum and chatting in loud Brooklyn accents….
4. The honey jars are by the cash register in all the supermarkets – the impulse buy of the season.
5. Colleagues start using the excuse, “Oh well, it’s nearly time for the holidays, when nobody does any work anyway.”
6. You can eat Shabbat dinner at a normal hour again.
7. The billboards on all the streets are plastered with ads about lectures on repentance: Tshuva! Tfillah! Tzedakah!
8. If you swim after 10am, you will not be splashed and bashed by the rowdy campers who hijack the pool all summer (hurrah!).
9. After a three-week lull, people start getting married again (like the very young and innocent-looking Hasidic couple whom I inadvertently bumped into last night on their way from the chuppah to the yichud room, when I took a wrong turn out of the cell phone shop in an otherwise deserted business complex in Givat Shaul that apparently also contains a very modest wedding hall….)
10. You open your daily planner to jot down a note for next week, and discover that you have come to the end of the book. Time to copy all the names and addresses into a new planner – whose names will be written in that book? Whose will not? Who by fire, and who by water?
Yes, the holiday season has arrived…..