By Laura Seymour
Yes, the holidays arrived early this year. Isn’t the Jewish calendar amazing? There is something wonderful about holidays coming on different days each year and the adjustments that we must make. (There’s also something wonderful and comforting about the most important holiday, Shabbat, coming on its weekly schedule. You can always count on Shabbat!).
As we approach Rosh Hashanah each year, we reflect on and re-evaluate the past 12 months and prepare for the year to come. The concept is to “return,” but in that returning we should strive to be the person we are meant to be — “the best me I can be!” Around this time, I am always reminded of something I heard long ago from a great educator: We should not call ourselves human beings, because we are truly human becomings. From birth on, throughout our lives we are becoming what we are really meant to be.
So the High Holidays are about returning and starting anew. CLAL, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, sends out a thought-provoking card each holiday. Here are some of their thoughts on returning: Imagine being able to return to your “Sender” — to your Source — to the source of the meaning and purpose you seek, to the source or sources that give you the power to be who you most want to be!
Judaism is an action-based religion; we do so many things that connect us to our beliefs. Often, however, we get caught up in the “doing” and forget to reflect on the meanings. This Rosh Hashanah, don’t just buy (or make) your round challah — with raisins or without — but think about why it is round. What is the message? Yes, the tradition tells us many stories about the year and the world being round, but what does that round challah mean to you and your family?
Don’t just dip apples in honey. Savor the individual tastes of different apples and think about how we are all different yet connected.
And don’t just listen to the shofar. This year, buy one. Being a shofar blower is a challenge, but having your own shofar is about more than that. Feel it, experience the beauty and think about the message of the wake-up call that it provides.
Rosh Hashanah: Return, and be thankful that you can start again!
Laura Seymour is director of Camping Services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.