Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the Jewish year. Our tradition encourages us to confront ourselves during communal prayer by sincerely acknowledging errors and pledging to overcome them to the best of our abilities. Each and every one of us have the opportunity to come together within our community to grow spiritually as we both individually and collectively look at our mistakes and go through a teshuvah, repentance, process.
The communal aspect of the High Holy Days always brings me joy even if the day has a solemn energy. I love seeing many people dressed in white as they join in prayer, in fasting, and in community. Even as a little girl, I loved the stories, the music, and the many congregants that came together for the High Holy Days. I remember feeling that I was part of a special group, a loving community of Jews.
When I came to Tucson, I was told it is a lot more relaxed than Washington DC; for the most part I have found this to be the case. Although in Washington DC, I don't think I experienced any of my students or the families going to school/work during the High Holy Days. Yet in Tucson, I heard from some students and families alike that they had chosen to keep to their normal routines on Rosh Hashanah. While I understand life schedules can be challenging, I found myself perplexed that some people missed services; those of you that were not at services were truly missed as part of our Temple Emanu-El community.
In spite of our crazy schedules, as Jews we have the sacred responsibility to take Yom Kippur as a day of reflection and be at one with Jews throughout the world. For some people, communal prayer might not work, but hopefully you can find some way to connect with our Jewish lifecycle. While my hope is that I see each and every one of you in services or hear about your unique Yom Kippur experiences, I also hope that you have a meaningful Yom Kippur and an amazing year too.