The Schmooze

Kol Nidre in Memories and Dreams

I’ve been spending the morning pacing around the house singing Kol Nidre while my two-year-old son Jacob toddles about playing with his toys. Just like every year, it seems, the High Holidays arrive to find my life in a startling upheaval of activity, with the world swinging back into movement after the sultry months of summer. And it seems that every year I wait until the day before erev Yom Kippur to practice Kol Nidre. I have just a few hours before I will be singing it again for the expectant Jews, their viscera open in that particular way that Yom Kipur operates on the Jewish psyche.

For me, my morning wandering about the house while my little boy plays, enjoying the sound of the Kol Nidre melody and pleasurably flexing the muscles of my voice, is a richer experience than I will have tonight, davening in front of the congregation. The human experience is so infinitely variable and fragile. Once you bring a room full of people into the mix it even the most nostalgic and intimate experience can become vulgarized and frail.

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Kol Nidre in Memories and Dreams

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