Our Jewish tradition instructs us to gather as a community during the High Holy Days. We need to begin our collective examination of our behavior during the past year. We stand together to recite sins that have been committed so that no individual is embarrassed to be asking for forgiveness.
This year, however, is different for us. In the midst of a pandemic, we cannot come together as our tradition demands. We must distance ourselves and rely heavily on computer or telephone to hear prayers and messages of atonement.
The Torah refers to Rosh Hashanah as “The Day of the Sounding of the Ram’s Horn.” Can we hear the ram’s horn via computer or telephone? Yes! Can we hear prayers and messages of the season via computer or telephone? Yes!
Legends have surrounded Rosh Hashanah and many important events have come to be associated with the New Year. Examples include:
-Rosh Hashanah is the birthday of our patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
-The Jewish New Year is the day that Joseph was released from prison in Egypt.
-This was the day that Moses appeared before Pharaoh demanding, “Let my People go!”
Even though there will be physical distance between us during the Holy Days this year, we still can be encouraged to love ourselves and each other as we navigate through these unique challenges. God will be at our side, urging us to make good and positive choices for personal growth.
What heroic choices will you make as we welcome the year 5781? Gather (electronically!) with your community, your congregation, and your family. You just might discover that the physical distance will not limit your spirituality.
Rabbi Bluming has been the rabbinic chaplain at the Renaissance on Peachtree since 2012.