Prediction Tradition

by Brian on January 4, 2010

in Just For Fun,The Old Country

Growing up, our family had an annual tradition on New Year’s Day. My father, my brother and I would gather around the family room table and put down in writing our predictions for the upcoming year. We would then open the envelope that had been sealed “upon pain of death” from the previous year.

Our predictions were divided into the categories that mattered most to us in our pre-teenage years: sports, entertainment, politics, and personal. The results were almost consistently out in left field, though sometimes we’d hit a grounder. We took pains to divide our pithy predictions according to who said what.

I still have those envelopes. Here are some excerpts from the years when I was 12 and 13 years old.

My brother predicted that JRR Tolkien would come out with a new book. My father thought he’d die (he did), while I said someone would make a major live action move out of Lord of the Rings (I was right, too…just 30 years off).

I rooted for a Beatles reunion; my father voted for Simon and Garfunkel. All of us believed that then President Nixon would be impeached, but only Dad predicted correctly that he would resign. He also pegged gasoline at a whopping 65 cents a gallon.

On more important matters, I thought Disneyland would open a new land and that we’d buy our first color TV (I was wrong about Disneyland, right about the TV). And I hoped the U.S. draft would come to an end.

Years later, what I find most interesting, though, are the predictions we made about Israel. There were only two.

On January 1, 1973, my father and I wrote a cryptic three line prediction: “Arabs No Settle.” Little did we know what was to come later that year at Yom Kippur.

The following year, now jaded by 1973’s events, we all predicted a new Arab-Israeli war (this time we were fortunately wrong, although we were not out of the clear with two Lebanon wars, a protracted terrorist war of attrition, and a full scale conflagration in Gaza still to come.).

Our prediction tradition has sadly since faded. What would be on our list if we were to reignite it today with an Israeli spin?

Is this the year of an attack on Iran and a subsequent retaliation?

Will any more politicians be impeached or resign (I think Ehud Olmert has us covered for awhile).

The Beatles won’t be reuniting but Paul McCartney finally came to Israel (and the list of artists slated for 2010 is formidable – see my colleague David Brinn’s report on the Israelity blog).

Of course the draft is mandatory and will be for the foreseeable future.

And any complaints about 65 cents a gallon gas have long been converted into wistful nostalgia.

One thing I am sure of: the state of Israel will be here in another year and the Jewish people will continue to thrive.

Happy 2010 to all This Normal Life’s long time readers.

This post originally appeared on the Israelity blog.


If you’ve just arrived at TNL for the first time in awhile, you’ll notice things look a little different around here. Just in time for 2010, I’ve moved the site to a new server running WordPress using the very cool and flexible Thesis theme. There’s no logo yet – the old one was nearly 5 years old and needs a serious overhaul – so if you know a great graphic designer, please be in touch.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Shira Salamone January 13, 2010 at 7:29 pm

I think graphic design is Zahava Bogner’s line of work. If all else fails, you should be able to contact her through her husband’s blog.

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