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Since 1970, the United States has celebrated Earth Day every April. By contrast, ancient Jewish celebrations throughout the year remind us of our responsibility to safeguard the fragile planet God has entrusted to our care. Almost all of our Jewish observances reflect environmental concerns.
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's the children, at first, that inspire awe, the infants now walking, the toddlers talking, the grade schoolers freshly combed and pressed, the high schoolers immense, the college students all but unrecognizable in their newfound sophistication. The brief span of twelve months has metamorphosed them all.
It is very hard to say you are sorry – and even harder to really mean it. It is not any easier to truly forgive.
The melody that stirs the heart of Ashkenazic Jews is of unknown origin, but is part of a body of music known as "MiSinai melodies" that emerged in Germany between the 11th and 15th centuries.
There are many customs and traditions associated with Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year, a time of prayer, self-reflection and repentance.
In ancient times, there were four different New Years on the Jewish calendar. Each had a distinct significance.