I was proud to have been at a Rosh Chodesh service yesterday morning in Chicago, IL. I was proud to have been asked to help lead the service, proud to don my tallit and stand before a congregation of people who had come together to pray, celebrate, and sing.
As a teenager in Flint, MI, most of my peers spent their Friday evenings at the movies with friends or at high school football games. When I told my friends why I couldn't join them, they were flabbergasted.
In 1975, I was a little girl coming to URJ Camp Harlam,a Jewish sleepaway camp, following in my cousin’s footsteps. I hung on to her for dear life every time we passed each other in camp. Slowly I began to develop friendships with the girls in my bunk, loosening my tight grip on my cousin.
Yom Kippur is the holiest and most solemn day of the Jewish year. On it is played out the great human drama of reckoning and accountability, making amends for past errors and misdeeds, and – ultimately – forgiveness and reconciliation.
Da lifnei mi atah omeid. Know before whom you stand. We see this text every time we are in the sanctuary. It is a reminder to us of the holiness of the space we inhabit and is an often featured moniker within synagogue sanctuaries. We have a heightened sense of awareness of this feeling of holiness during the High Holidays. Everything is in an elevated state around us. We read lofty poetic prayers, listen to elaborate music, sing from the depths of our souls, and we come to temple dressed in our finery