So, tonight is Kol Nidre, which is the evening before Yom Kippur, and the holiest night of the year, for Jews.
It’s one of those introspective holidays, where we are asked to consider what we want to hold onto within ourselves, and what we need to change.
I used to believe it was all about atonement, and guilt, which is one reason why I didn’t really pay attention to Judaism for many, many years.
It’s in reality about forgiveness. Forgiveness of self, forgiveness for those around us(even Trump supporters…), and asking forgiveness from G-d Himself.
Earlier today I made a honey cake for break the fast, which is tomorrow evening at sundown. Observant Jews fast from tonight at sunset, through tomorrow, just after sundown.
I’ve never fasted in the past, for health reasons, and because I’m on a lot of medication. I think I might try it out, this year, though.
Many different cultures rely on fasting to bring them visions, and to bring them closer to the God(s), and Goddesses, they believe in.
The honey cake I made will hopefully survive until tomorrow-it keeps calling to me, and it’s awfully tempting.
It’s my mom’s recipe, that she’s used for many years, and this is the first time that I’ve made it myself. I could not believe how much honey and brown sugar went into it! My teeth were hurting, just thinking about it.
Yom Kippur is a time for new beginnings, for transformation, for thoughtful conversations and thinking.
It also involves a load of time at the Jewish Temple, which I have to admit I’m not totally captured by.
I think my Rabbi will be leading services all day tomorrow. Perhaps in part to distract us all from our growling tummies!
I used to think these holidays were a pain, and stupid, when I was young. Mostly, I didn’t go to services, or care to hear about them, with the return of my folks.
So much about this holiday is setting an intention for the year to come. And praying that we will be inscribed in the book of life, for another year.
I always thought that was morbid, but I believe it’s just a way of showing gratitude for the precious lives that we have, and a reminder to value those lives.
I did something called a mikveh, today, with a couple of women from my temple. It’s a ceremonial bath, that is made of constantly running fresh water.
It’s customary to go through the ceremony and immersion in this bath, before Yom Kippur. This one is outside in a beautiful self-contained part of the wilderness.
I know that too many ceremonies can bog people down. But the reverse has been true for me.
I’m feeling more grounded, and at peace, because of the many Jewish holidays and practices that come along with them. I am also enjoying the people I’m meeting. I’m beginning to feel like I have a community, a tribe, to fit into. It’s a very supportive environment, that has brought me joy, and made me feel less lonely.
I believe this is one of the positive things that active participation in a synagogue, or a church can do for you.
I feel fortunate, for now, to be a member of this Temple, and too feel like I’m becoming an actual part of something that is larger than myself. Which is something I’ve needed for a long time.