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In North America, many Jews prepare for Rosh Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish new year, by making to-do lists: acquiring seats for High Holiday services, inviting guests, purchasing a new fruit, and preparing chicken soup just like Bubbe used to make.
Last year, we talked about it being a High Holidays like no other. And this year we are faced with the same opportunity – to create something that has never before existed.
Meet 88-year-old Murray, an astounding man. Quiet, sometimes reserved, Murray became my father-in-law 31 years ago, when God softly whispered to me, “Don’t wait.” I confess I didn’t appreciate him fully until recently.
During the year I spent studying in Jerusalem as a rabbinic student, it was impossible to escape the upcoming High Holy Days.
Late in the evening of September 28, 2009, following very introspective and rewarding Yom Kippur services at Congregation Ohabai Shalom in Nashville, I took a hot shower and then stood, wrapped in a towel, in front of the bathroom mirror. As I brushed my teeth, I reflected on my experience of this most prayerful of days, when Jews throughout the world come to grips with their mistakes and seek atonement.
It is very hard to say you are sorry – and even harder to really mean it. It is not any easier to truly forgive.