Wednesday, September 8, 2010

(43-43) New Beginnings

Tonight is the first night of Rosh Hashanah (The Jewish New Year.)
Rosh Hashanah is one of two High Holidays in the Jewish religion and it
commemorates the creation of the human race. Rosh Hashanah is a time for cleansing and renewal. Jews cleanse their souls and get the chance to start fresh with an unburdened conscience and the intention of doing better in the coming year. It is a chance to receive forgiveness and clear the slate.

As tonight's post is coincidentally the 43rd post of my 43rd year, it seems apropos that I reflect on this holiday and the promise of new beginnings.

 Now I don't want to misrepresent myself.  I'm far from being an observant or educated Jew; but that doesn't mean that my religion and my heritage aren't important to me.  When I was on Facebook today, many of my friends had posted "Happy New Year to my friends who are celebrating" or "Shana Tova" (A good year;) and I have to admit, although it's my holiday; I sadly felt somewhat out of the loop.  You see I attended a Sunday school and religion classes when I was in elementary school; but I never attended a Hebrew school at a temple or had a very religious upbringing.  Growing up in the condo, high holiday services were held in our clubhouse.  They were conducted by a Rabbi, but at the time I was really too young to comprehend the services.  I had a nervous laugh as a child and any time I was called upon to recite a prayer or read out loud, I would giggle uncontrollably; so my parents and I agreed that I wouldn't have a Bat Mitvah and therefore, I never attended a formal Hebrew school.

Growing up Jewish was a lot more about culture for me than it was about religion.  My neighborhood was predominantly Jewish as was my elementary school; and yet I didn't have a lot of knowledge about what being a Jew meant.   My Grandmother kept a Kosher home, and lit shabbos candles on Friday nights; but she never taught me why she did these things; and now that I have children of my own I'm finding that I want the answers to these questions.  I can honestly say that I'm somewhat embarrassed  about my lack of religious education AND in celebration of my 43rd year and this brand NEW YEAR, I am going to make a conscious effort to become more knowledgeable and informed about Judaism; both for myself and for my children.
There have been several times in the past few years where I've turned to Judaism to try to find comfort and understanding, regarding experiences that I'd had in the past and guidance for choices that I needed to make; so I feel that it's safe to say that I have been seeking religious answers for some time now and I am ready to commit myself to becoming a more enlightened person.  Now, do I intend to go to temple every Friday night; NO.  I am going to read the Bible ever day; probably not.  But I am going to make sure that I can answer questions like "What is Rosh Hashanah? and "What do apples and honey have to do with the holiday?"  The truth is that my dear friend, Dawn mentioned apples and honey several times to me in the past few days in reference to Rosh Hashanah and I am ashamed to say that I didn't know what she was talking about.  And so, since there's no better time to start than the present, I looked it up.  The simplest explanation that I found was,  "On Rosh Hashanah, it is traditional to eat apples dipped in honey, to symbolize our hopes for a "sweet" new year."  I like that!  

Whether you are celebrating Rosh Hashanah or not; I welcome you to rejoice with me.  Celebrate the possibility of new beginnings for yourself.  No matter what your religion is; you can always repent for your sins and ask God for forgiveness; but we also need to be able to forgive ourselves and remember that it's never too late to make a fresh start.
Shana tova umetukah (a good and sweet year.)
Till next time...


Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Beautiful post!!! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

Joni Parker said...

Well stated! Good luck on your journey!!