Sunday, September 13th, 2020
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We are preparing to celebrate using new virtual methods, Rosh Hashannah. The other day I read a Facebook message and someone from my generation (growing up in the 50s and 60s,) asked how many of us remember getting new Fall Outfits for Yom Tov? Often they were wool or something very warm despite the temperatures that may influence something less, but it was September/October and we must be dressed appropriately for the Jewish New Year. I remember one year my mother sewed me a black & white hounds-tooth wools suit and I got this corduroy black corduroy hat that today has the 60s written all over it.
Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur were traditionally spent in shul, while my parents sat in the synagogue with all the other parents and grandparents, the three of us went to youth services and met up with our parents when their services ended. It was a solemn day of reflection and it also was a time to show off your best and make your parents proud.
After services on Rosh Hashannah, we would either walk home with friends or pack into my dad’s car for the short 5-minute drive home. Once home, the men in the family took off their jackets and loosened their ties, but we all remain in holiday finery. I would help my mother serve the traditional foods like homemade chicken soup with noodle kugel, and course after course I would jump up to assist. Momma made a tzimmis (a carrot, honey, prune sweet side-dish), sweet and sour meatballs, a sweet kugel with raisins, brisket, and or a roasted chicken (and sometimes we would go to the Shechitah days before to pick out our live chicken and watch the Rabbi, kill it, bless it, and make it kosher.) Can You Say Tradition?
That was Rosh Hashannah and ten days later for Yom Kipur again we would have our traditional meal before attending Kol Nidre Services. Much was the same as the week before, but in our home, my mother added Kreplach to the meal (a Jewish Ravioli.) After filling ourselves up to the gills with food, we began our 24 hour fast for the Day of Atonement. And just like Rosh Hashannah, my parents sat in the main chapel while my brothers and I went to youth services.
I miss those days – those were the days when my paternal grandparents attended our Shul and they were part of our inner circle, and years before my mother’s parents would join us for the break the fast 24 hours later. Again, break the fast was centered around food, fresh bagels, and rolls with condiments including LOX, also my mother baked Mandel Bread, Chocolate Chip Cookies, a yeast coffee cake. Food brought us together after a day of repenting.
Many of those traditions faded for me when I got married and moved away. It took me over 36 years to find a Temple where I feel accepted. However, this year I will not be able to sit in the sanctuary with my new family of Temple Friends I will be sharing in a zoom service like so many of us due to COVID. However, I hope and pray next year we can feel safe in coming together as one, and as we say at the end of the Yom Kippur service, “Next Year in Jerusalem,” May we say next year in our Temple/Shul.
2020 or 5780 has not been the best year of my life, nor the worst. However, I pray that 5781 will bring new peace to OUR LIVES so we may live in harmony. Even those of us who sing off Key should be appreciated for the value we bring to this world. We must make this year the first step to doing this and making it an everlasting journey for those that follow.
I ushered in 5780 last year with my Temple Israel Akron family. Sadly, too soon after that COVID crept into our lives and turned things upside down. However, if I have learned nothing else as I turned 70 in March, I am responsible for my feelings that can contribute to my happiness or sadness, and I have chosen Happiness! I have spent the last year reaching out and making new friends and relationships. I have continued to follow my dreams with newcleveleandradio.net. I have been a support system for my family encouraging them to follow their dreams and not settle because someone has told them to. I will go into the new yeat 5781 with new hopes and dreams and I will take the steps forward because that is what life is all about.
To all who may be reading this whether you observe the Jewish Holiday or not, know that I believe in you and all the good you too will put forth in the days to come.
Love, Karen KIKI