Jane Falk

Blowing the Shofar: Rabbi Yehuda Ferris made the traditional call from a hospital room in Berkeley, Calif.

An Improvised Holiday

Bad enough that my heartbeat went berserk and I had to be hospitalized. But on Rosh Hashanah? And me, an observant Jew?! Not only would I miss the synagogue service I so loved, and not have visitors because they were forbidden to drive, but how could I possibly adhere to the High Holy Day commandments? Sure, God would forgive me — my life was at stake — but I couldn’t bear the thought of ushering in the New Year without its glorious ritual.