By Bonnie Gratch Lindauer
I love these holidays because of the opportunity they provide for reflection and soul-searching that began at the beginning of the month of Elul and continues. I also love the change of season that comes around this time of year. In San Francisco, that usually means the fog and chill of August give way to warmer weather.Like a young child beginning the school year, everything starts fresh – new clothes perhaps, new school binders or book bags, eager and open to everything. For us approaching these Days of Awe, we might feel similar as we bring our open hearts to the New Year, ready to start afresh. The sense of renewal and rededication is strong, especially as we prepare to make Teshuvah, sometimes translated as “repentance,” though more accurately understood as turning back (shuv) to God. Even if the concept of God is problematic for some, we understand that we find renewal and growth through turning back to those whom we may have hurt or maligned in some way. And through these acts of asking for forgiveness, one by one we collectively work to bring tikkun olam, healing the fractures of the world.
The liturgy and rituals of the High Holy Days are special. Like the startling sound of the shofar, they are meant to wake us up from routine, from listlessness and apathy. I hope that you find some that are personally meaningful to you. Our wonderful clergy are committed to finding ways to help each of us engage more deeply in the services.
As we prepare our lives, our minds and our hearts for the upcoming Days of Awe, perhaps we might also ask ourselves how we can rededicate ourselves this new year to ensuring the strength and vitality of our B’nai Emunah community? There are many ways. Let’s start with building and strengthening relationships with each other by sharing of ourselves and inviting our newer members to get to know us better.
May we all be inscribed for a year of good health, happiness and peace.