As a unit, we throw candy at the bride and groom before their wedding to share our sweetness with them. And then together we beat our breasts to share our common shame on Yom Kippur “For the sins we have committed before you by bribery, and the sins that we have committed before you by gluttony.”
This is a season to unite as a community and pray. More Jews turn out for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur than on any other holidays, and why?
Because there’s something meaningful and powerful in uniting on this holiday as Jews, to stand before G-d and humankind, and our selves, in reflection on the year that has passed and the year that will be.
Because there’s something uplifting in the repetitions of the shofar’s commanding blasts. In sitting and standing, sitting and standing. In reading and singing (or humming along with) the Hebrew words and melodies that our families by blood and by peoplehood are reading and singing in Israel, and Iraq, South Africa, and Australia at that same time.
Whether or not you believe that there is a “Book of Life” in which we are inscribed at the end of Yom Kippur, this season is an opportunity to reflect personally and communally on our lives, our communities, our world, our Judaism.
That’s why for the month of September, TC Jewfolk is introducing a new weekly column called “Monday Minyan.”
Traditionally, you need 10 people to form a Jewish prayer group, or minyan, a necessity for some of the prayers in our liturgy. Join our minyan on Mondays as we discuss the things that tear us apart and bring us together, the hopes we have for our selves and our world, and the ideas we have to change our lives and the lives of those around us.
Starting next week, we ask that you join us on Mondays while you drink your coffee (we’ll have the question up by 6:00 a.m. for you early risers), as you take a break from your hectic workday, or before you curl up in bed at night.
Think about our weekly question. Then answer it to yourself.
If you are able to, share your answer (anonymously, if you prefer) with the rest of us in the comments. We hope at least 10 of you do.
Look In. Share Out. Join Us.
TCJF – More Jews turn out for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur than on any other holidays, and why?
Traditions, traditions. Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as… as… as a fiddler on the roof!
We all have our own reasons to turn out. Chanukah has been related so closely to Christmas that it is a fun holiday to celebrate. Passover may not find more Jews keeping the laws of the holiday, but the Seder is a strong tradition of family gathering. We CALL the High holy Days, stressing their importance; mix in the chance to repent and make resolutions (albeit without Guy Lombardo and his rendition of Auld Lang Syne)and you have a hit on your hands.
I have gained bits of observant behavior, and patterns of observation strengthen faith, I hope. I teach my children that the most important holiday on the Jewish calendar (it always seems to come up with and between kids- holiday comparison and ranking) is Shabbat. If we can show THAT as the cycle of participation rather than once a year to hear the Shofar or hear Kol Nidre…
Just a thought.
Michael – I totally agree with you that emphasizing celebrating Judaism weekly is far preferable to annually. Also agree that it’s important to find other holidays that bring the family together and share them with your children (or your sig others, or neighbors, or friends).
Judaism that will endure is the Judaism of shared tradition and community. Whether that’s a Shabbat dinner, Passover seder, or break-fast meal on Yom Kippur (note the food theme).