03 October 2006

Days of Awe (ימים נוראים)

The Days of Awe (ימים נוראים) have just passed, consisting of the ten days beginning with the two days of the Jewish New Year (ראש השנה) and concluding with the one day of the Day of Atonement (יום כיפור). What comes onto my mind every year is a trepidation - one not so much deriving from fear of approaching the Divine Presence, but rather of trying to get down our Jewish practices as far as what to do in this time of year. I think that's part of what being a BT is about - just when I think I'm kind of getting the rhythm down of Jewish life, then bam, the flow gets switched up and some sort of holiday or fast comes up and I must learn all about it (versus FFBs who not only may have a sense of the actions, practices, and/or attitudes of various holidays already down, also have more of a visceral connection, which helps them orient more positively towards the holiday(s) in question). I think, if asked, my favorite time of the Jewish year would have to be the time following Sukkos up through the winter and the spring, as Hanukkah and Purim aren't too intense around which to wrap my head, up until before Pessah and then from then, it gets a little bit more difficult.
Anyways, I spent my Rosh HaShanah in Onset, MA at the only Orthodox shul in Cape Cod, Congregation Beth Israel. It is also known for being the Rav's summer shul. It was a nice, small minyan, but I'm not sure that they got enough for a minyan for Yom Kippur. Anyways, it was a nice, pleasant davenning, part of which was led by my fellow schoolmate, Yonah Berman, and also some of which was led beautifully by Dr. Matthew Zizmor. It was a nice town with coves of water around, which was peaceful and nice. However, I'm sure that in the summer it must be more so, however with warmer weather and more people around, but most people had already departed following Labor Day weekend, and the weather had begun to change to autumn-like weather. The weather change clearly imparting to me that summer had, indeed, come to an end.
We had school the week in between, and for Yom Kippur, I went to HIR up in Riverdale for Sunday night. Upon leaving, Rabbi Weiss insisted that my two walking companions back to the Heights and myself stay the night in Riverdale. In the morning, we walked back and davened there.
Okay, now it's time to get in the mindset for Sukkos.


Reader from LA... said...

Hey just found your blog randomly. I agree with you about the intensity. Just wanted to let you know that you're not alone! Thats also what I feel everytime I daven that first Maariv after Neilah...haven't yet eaten and a part of me wants to rush through it (although it doesn't make havdalah come any sooner) yet I love the "farmiliarity" of the prayers and the regularity that it brings back. Just a thought...And now its almost Shabbos so Have a good Shabbos!

SG said...

there's another Orthodox shul on the Cape. In Hyannis, it's the Chabad center. A VERY nice shul to visit, very hospitable!