Is New Year's Eve Jewish?

Is the celebration of New Year's Eve allowed in accord with the Jewish religion?

No, not in Haifa, Israel, according to the rabbinate there. They say that a New Year's Eve party is an act of "Idol worship," as JTA reports:
Haifa rabbinate forbids New Year’s Eve parties

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- The Haifa rabbinate has warned local hotels and event halls that they could lose their kashrut supervision if they hold New Year's Eve parties on their premises.

"No parties celebrating Christian New Year's Eve should be held on the premises, and our supervision will be further denied to those who disobey our instructions," read a letter from the rabbinate sent to area businesses, Ynet reported.

The decision is based on a previous decision made by the Chief Rabbinate, the head of Haifa's Religious Council, Avi Weitzman, told Ynet.

The Chief Rabbinate said that its kashrut supervisors could not be present to supervise the food at celebrations of Christian holidays, such as New Year's, and therefore the kashrut certificate would have to be revoked.

“It is forbidden for a Jew to be present in a place where ‘idol worship’ is being conducted,” said a statement from the Chief Rabbinate, according to the Jerusalem Post.
There are numerous reasons to argue that celebrations on this day at some point in history indeed were pagan festivals. December 31 was known as Saint Sylvester Day and January 1 was a time for the commemoration of Jesus’ circumcision. See this historical summary.

Since today's secular New Year's celebrations mark the turning of the calendar to a new year and make no recognition of such pagan or Christian events, we respectfully disagree with the rabbis.


Happy Archetypal Hanukkah to all you Priests, Scribes, Performers, Mystics, Meditators and Triumphalists

Whose holiday is Hanukkah? In the mode of examination that I use in my book, "God's Favorite Prayers," I answered that it is the "priest's" festival. The holiday prayer, "And for the miracles..." recounts a narrative of historical figures who serve as "avatars of the priestly archetype". In fact, I explain there, "The Hanukkah narrative glorifies an actual priest, Matthias, and celebrates his victory of reclaiming and purifying the Temple."

But I admit with glee that there are more archetypes at work in this liturgy and in the festival. I see elements of the redemptive theme of the "celebrity" in the assertion in the prayer that the Hanukkah victory, "...brought about a great deliverance and redemption for your people Israel to this very day."

Is Chairman of Renaissance Technologies Jim Simons Jewish?

Yes. The retired Chairman of Renaissance Technologies Jim Simons is a Jew. A smart and rich Jew.

Wikipedia tells us: James Harris Simons was born in April 1938 to an American Jewish family the only child of Marcia (née Kantor) and Matthew Simons, and raised in Brookline, Massachusetts. His father owned a shoe factory.

The hedge fund guru, Simons is now worth $18 billion, give or take.

New Yorker has an amazing profile of him and his incredible Flatiron Institute. You must read this.