As fulfilling as it was to engage in Shavuot programs, a lot weighs on me. With COVID-19 continuing to ravage Black communities and racist violence all over the news, I almost feel like it’s Yom Kippur instead – the time when Jews are supposed to be most aware of their own mortality.
This week, I tell a friend I’d love to chat but actually I have to run Yom Kippur services are starting soon and I’ve got to repent for my sins before the gates are closed. She laughs. “Well, you’re gay, so you’ve definitely got a lot of repenting to do.”
Trying to endure loss in isolation is more than painful; it puts our lives at risk. Rambam understood that when he described the consequences of not being connecting to Am Yisrael at times of trauma, including our fast days.
If the High Holidays were to be pared down to their very essence, what are some words and phrases that might come to mind?
Belonging. Connection. Memory. An accounting of the soul.