As a teenager, I would sit on my bedroom floor listening to old records of Belgian singer-songwriter, poet, and performer Jacques Brel. I didn’t need to keep a journal, because his lyrics wove together everything I felt at the time. Brel had a fire within, and his anger, longing, passion, and truth blazed through every word he sang. His music, raw and real, transformed and fed my soul; it informed and shaped who I am today.
To devote ourselves to an accurate accounting of the soul, it is customary to refrain from five specific activities related to our bodies on Yom Kippur.
In the game “Truth-or-Dare,” I choose “truth” nearly every time. I’m not much of a dare-taker. Thus, if you and I were playing “Special Edition Truth-or-Dare: High Holy Days,” I would confess that the prayer Avinu Malkeinu provides me with both my second-favorite liturgical moment and my second-greatest pet peeve of the year’s liturgy. (Note: Even though I may have to repent for it, I will leave you in suspense about my favorite liturgical moment and my greatest liturgical pet peeve. Also, “Special Edition Truth-or-Dare: High Holy Days” is fictional, although I hereby declare copyright in the event Mattel or Hasbro comes knocking at my door.)
We want you to come to High Holiday services, but we want you to come back, too -- when it’s less crowded and when we can welcome you and show you what we’re all about.
I don’t want to raise my children in a home with yelling. And yet, when I slip in a way that’s human and understandable, I fail both myself and my children.
At recent years’ Days of Awe services, I could swear I saw index fingers popping out all over the place – fingers of accusation, not of ownership or responsibility.