Tomorrow at sundown, marks the beginning of Yom Kippur. I celebrate my own personal way.
“Although Yom Kippur is an intense, solemn holiday, it is nevertheless viewed as a happy day, since if one has properly observed this holiday, by the end of Yom Kippur they will have made a lasting peace with others and with G-d.” https://www.learnreligions.com/
As this marks another first for me, without any family members from my prior generations, it’s hard. Growing up, we had little to no Jewish interactions, other than the few visits each year with my grandparents. I never participated in Rosh Hashana nor Yom Kippur services until I was an adult. My dear aunt, who passed this year, was the one that included my husband and I when they went to high holiday services. When sitting for the long services became impossible with my medical conditions, my spouse and I decided to continue with our own new traditions. We would take the day off each year and do something meaningful. We talked about what we regretted and how we wanted to make better choices. Sometimes, between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur we would visit the cemetery where my grandparents are buried.
Because of Covid, I was able to be a part of Rosh Hashana services this year. The Zoom service was wonderful. I had a happy new year despite it being sad. I made a new dish in remembrance of the holiday as well as my family members. Now with Yom Kippur on the horizon, I have spent many days wondering how I want to honor the day. I don’t know if it is the teacher in me, or just who I am, but I researched how to celebrate during Covid times. I found both humorous and serious options.
https://reflect.reformjudaism.org/ – Explores meaningful new ways to welcome the High Holidays. It even has assignments. Yippee!
I cannot get to the ocean this year because my spouse is going to work. I will not do any physical work on Yom Kippur. I will spend a great deal of time reflecting as to how I can change my actions. I want to make better choices with those I love as well as for myself. For medical reasons, we do not fast. I will, however, limit my food intake and abstain from any chocolate. I will remember my wonderful family. I am the person I am because of my grandparents and aunt and uncle.
For many years we would travel to my aunt’s house to break the fast and go out to a celebratory Yom Kippur dinner. She was always dressed in a beautiful white outfit. Often, we would take other family members with us to join in the celebration. These are the blissful times I miss. The times when multiple generations got together to celebrate the holidays that were a part of a common history are no more.
While my grandparents passed away before my spouse and I married, I know in my heart that they would be overjoyed with our choices towards Judaism. They were Orthodox, and still loved me dearly when they learned my first husband was Christian. (Not everyone in the family was as understanding.)
I am proud to know the influence Judaism has had on my life. I am forever the student. I yearn to weave the strings of knowledge I garnered from my family, to continue to make me the person I want to be.
May you and your family be inscribed in the Book of Life for goodness, kindness, health & prosperity.