Why Rosh Hashanah? Why ritual? Why come at all? (PS it begins Monday September 6 – yes, on Labor Day)
Because — in the midst of our “tsunami of tsuris” an eloquent phase my colleague Rabbi Leah Herz coined – there is comfort in coming together. Simply being present with each other. Hearing healing music. Speaking words of beauty that help us remember, this too is true.
Our Rosh Hashanah and other High Holy Day prayers, some ancient or revised just yesterday to meet this moment in time, express universal deep longings. Whether or not you believe in a God that hears prayers, or a God that hears at all, or even if God exists, the words we voice come from our deepest intentions and hopes.
Showing Up Is The Antidote To Despair
In a time of great and overwhelming disruption, the most hopeful thing you can do is simply show up. Even when you don’t know what to do or how to fix anything, being present is the answer. You come with your tears, your disappointments, your not-knowing, your overall what-the-heck-is-happening-ness.
And when we show up together with our honest true selves in whatever place we find ourselves in, we create sacred space together.
These High Holy Days give us a structure, a container, that can hold our pain and yes, our joy.
Those who came before us, whether it was a makeshift High Holy Days in concentration camps, or in cellars during the Spanish Inquisition, or overseas during wars, or after a personal loss, or in a hospital room — they brought their own tsuris to these Holy Days.
This is why I show up – for those who came before and for all those who will come after me – and for my own tender heart.
Just as our Judaism has changed over the course of our lifetime, know that the Judaism of the future will be shaped by what we create now. I hope that wherever you are, you come to be part of forming the new.
I warmly invite you to show up at our online non-traditional, warm-hearted musical poetic Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur gatherings. If you already have plans to show up elsewhere, that is wonderful.
Register here. I would love to see your sweet face.