We stood in reverence of the Torah, as if she were a trusted friend. We gazed at her with loving eyes as if she were a long lost lover.
We extended kisses to her as if she were our only true love. As long as there is Torah, we shall find our path to being holy.
We found safety in one another's arms, a space to cry tears of mourning, as our singing returned them to tears of joy, and we found the strength to forgive those who had done us harm.
We touched the brokenness of our hearts, and then sang them back together again. As long as there is kindness, we shall heal...Read More
Last fall, I took my now-husband to High Holiday services for the first time. When Yom Kippur arrived, he, like many Jews, found a way to forgive himself for his past mistakes.
The Day of Atonement gave him an opportunity to practice t’shuvah (repentance), to become the better person he strove to be. My husband not only found the whole experience transformative, but observing Yom Kippur inspired him to start his conversion to Judaism.
As I witnessed my husband’s experience, it hit me that I...Read More
During these the Days of Awe between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, I cannot help but bring to mind those ancient words, “Who shall live and who shall die, who shall reach the ripeness of age…” We Jews are in the midst of the season of fate.
This year, I’ve watched myself descend swiftly and unexpectedly into a depressive episode, nearly unable to stop the increasing spiral into a black mood. From inside my depression, I can see that my...Read More
“I am a woman of sorrowful spirit.”
This is how Hannah describes herself in the Haftarah portion we read on the first day of Rosh HaShanah. She claims her sorrow.
Hannah's greatest desire was to have a child. In a world in which a woman's worth was determined by her ability to bear children, the fact that Hannah could not meant enormous sorrow, as well as shame. It was a shame that Peninah, Elkanah’s other wife, capitalized on, intending to make Hannah feel...Read More
There are numerous reasons you may not be able to fast on Yom Kippur: maybe you’re pregnant, you’re a diabetic, you have an eating disorder, or you have medications that must be taken with food.
First of all, thank you for taking care of your body, which is a mitzvah. The Hebrew word for it is “Lishmor HaGuf” (to guard the body), and it is just as important a mitzvah as any other, including the Yom Kippur fast.
When fasting is not feasible, here are some other ways to observe Yom Kippur.... Read More