When I left for college my freshman year, I was nervous about exploring a new Jewish community. However, I immediately felt at home as I walked into my university’s Hillel’s Conservative Friday night services and saw the Siddur Sim Shalom, the prayer book I had grown up with.
I remember the absence of sound,
deeper than silence
and more lonely,
like the moment just
all stretched and
except there was no time
so waiting was
Cafe Spindel is a quaint café in the center of Bad Segeberg, Germany that used to house a wool-processing factory. Because it was an unseasonably warm and sunny late summer day when I visited, our host, Pastor Martin Pommerening, suggested we sit outside.
Before 1933, life for the Jews in Europe was filled with rich Jewish culture. Jews often lived in shtetls (small Jewish villages) or chose to assimilate into secular society. For the most part, life was good – until Adolf Hitler.
Each year on Yom Kippur, I join my congregation is reciting the Ashamnu, an alphabetic acrostic of sins for which we repent. And each year, it occurs to me that most of the sins named in the Ashamnu don’t hit me in the heart I’m beating – and so, I wrote my own version of the prayer.
Whether you prefer the 1843 book or any of the many movie versions made since, there is no question that Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a classic.
Now, despite the season for which Dickens wrote it, A Christmas Carol is a Yom Kippur story if there ever was one.