Posts Tagged: high holidays Results 5
We are currently in the thick of what I like to call Teshuva Season. Starting with Rosh Chodesh Elul and continuing through Hoshana Rabbah, this time of year gives us a full seven weeks of reflection, repentance, and self-reproach. It is known as a time to mend our relationships with others and with God, our chance to beg for forgiveness lest our names be excluded from the Book of Life for the coming year.
Over the recent (and somewhat endless) round of high holidays this year, I came to some disconcerting realizations about my attitude to shul-going as a woman and a feminist.
Every year just before Rosh Hashanah, my mother and I engage in a ritual attempt to approximate my grandmother’s gefilte fish recipe. The recipe itself is an approximation. She cobbled it together from other Holocaust survivors, and perhaps gleaned a few tips from women in a displaced persons’ camp, perhaps remembering bits from what her own mother made do with in her Polish shtetl kitchen. It goes something like this: one-third buffalo carp, one-third pike, one-third whitefish. Naturally, I can’t divulge the whole thing.
The Jewish New Year is a time for judgment and reflection, not celebration. We gather to take stock and consider all of the ways we have fallen short, sinned and transgressed. We beat our chests, and each pounding represents a sin that either we — or some other member of the community — committed over the previous year.
When your synagogue attendance can only be described as sporadic, a few panicked thoughts and pangs of regret enter your mind as you step into shul for Rosh Hashanah services. These include, but are not limited to: 1.) I should have volunteered to teach Torah for Tots because they get to eat apples and honey and speak English 2.) My new year’s resolution is to kiss up to the rabbi’s secretary, so we don’t get these nosebleed seat assignments again 3.) I hope people think I look pretty in my new dress.