For those of you who are Jewish, L’shana Tovah. For those of you who are not, that translates into: don’t forget to take a Pepcid before you start your holiday meal and don’t worry you should never be forced to eat gefilte fish if it grosses you out. Oh, and of course it is the day that every mother of a boy scrambles from friend to friend trying to find a pair of pants that are not up to their teenage son’s ankles.
Just kidding, this is how we wish each other a happy new year. Rosh Hashanah, which began at sundown Monday night, is the Jewish New Year. I always thought it was kind of cool to start a holiday at sundown. And it makes for such great traffic stress on the Long Island Expressway, doesn’t it?
All kidding aside, in the midst of all the turmoil our country has found itself in these days, it is a wonder anyone can still keep the faith. Whatever your religion, if you take comfort in the rituals it surely helps to ease the anxiety of the times.
I am not a particularly religious person, but I am one that holds strong to my heritage and the traditions that are tied to it. To me, religion is about family and friends. And I try my best to keep the faith against all odds.
The fact that I can set a table and know that both my parents AND both my in-laws will be sitting down to a holiday meal with us is truly a blessing. Don’t get me wrong, we are all crazy in our own ways and that surely makes for some lively discussion, but how many teenagers can say that they have 4 living grandparents? Not many. Over the past few years we have had some holidays with one or another family member sadly absent from the table and hospitalized for a host of reasons. Thankfully this is not one of those years.
As a kid, going to services was torture for me. I am sure my kids feel that way today. Although I wonder now that Jana is so far away if she would not secretly rather be in the building. Ok, maybe just at the table for the home cooked meal is more realistic, but maybe not. Both kids are so comfortable there.
Now when I walk into the synagogue I am taken by the power of sitting within the community that I raised my children. This is the building where we have celebrated happy times and grieved sad ones, where the kids went to pre-school, became b’nai mitzvah. I see the all the faces and through them gauge the time I have spent here. I feel very fortunate to live in a place where people care so deeply for one another.
These have been wonderful years. I have made friendships that I could not think of living without. People who have seen me through my darkest days and who understood my warped ways and love me anyway.
With all my talk of the need to leave the zip code, when it comes down to it…
there’s no place like home.
(toto/mel, i don’t think we are in kansas anymore…)