Even as structure and routine begin to crumble, ritual observances don’t stop for the virus. As did many generations of Jews before us, we must adapt ritual to this unprecedented way of life, and Shabbat services, a mainstay for nursing home residents, necessitated creative adaptation.
Friday’s sunset could be no different than Thursday’s, a time marker notching off another day or another week, but Shabbat requires us to mark a more substantial difference, Regularity is key to keep track of our lives between other Jewish times and when days blur into each other.
If, as the Talmud tells us, the blasts of the shofar are meant to remind us of crying, (Babylonian Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 33A – specifically of Sisera’s mother – but that is another subject!), then I would offer the following.
During the year I spent studying in Jerusalem as a rabbinic student, it was impossible to escape the upcoming High Holy Days.
A deep spiritual life is hard to find. While opportunities abound for spiritual connections (yoga, meditation, retreats and the like), for most of us it doesn’t come easy.
At the last count of the World Jewish Congress in 1997, there were 25 Jews living in Haiti. There is no native Jewish population to speak of in what is currently the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
Although we’re barely into the dog days of August, the High Holidays are fast approaching. The first of Elul, the Hebrew month that precedes Tishrei and the start of Rosh HaShanah, begins at sundown this Tuesday, which means that Wednesday, August 7th is the first of Elul.