The “High Holy Days” refer to Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the day of Atonement ten days later. There is something to be said about taking a ten day period to celebrate the New Year, reflect on past mistakes, acknowledge them inwardly and outwardly, set intentions for the coming year, and move on. That is what the “Days of Awe” are all about. Rosh Hashanah is considered a time of celebration — similar to any New Year’s celebration. One way to celebrate is with great food. We eat apples dipped in honey and new fruit, like the pomegranate to signify the hope of a sweet year. The Pomegranate Sacred Heart jewelry symbolizes both fruitful renewal and a heart full of of love and hope for light ahead.
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Pomegranate Sacred Heart Necklace, Sterling Silver
Another much loved traditional food is Honey Cake — which is a favorite family tradition in our house. That is because my grandmother, Mary Kleinhandler, managed to survive the Holocaust and continue on to create a loving life worth living. Here is her famous recipe for Honey Cake that she remebered from her childhood in Poland before the war.
The Days of Awe are the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. We are instructed to think long and hard about our past year. How did it go? Did we miss the mark? Hurt someone? Hurt ourselves? Where could we improve? Once we’ve spent time looking back, it is customary to find those people who we may have hurt, directly acknowledge our missteps, and apologize to them before Yom Kippur. If someone has hurt you, tell them. Work it out! It is also important to give time or money to charitable causes, and food to the poor– in Jewish tradition, this is called Tzedakah or “Justice.” This is all a part of renewing or returning your soul to its pure state. This process is not always easy! This “Justice Tzedakah Box” is an elegant way to collect funds for the poor.
Finally, Yom Kippur arrives, the culmination of the past 10 days. The literal translation is “day of forgiveness”, although the more commonly used translation is “day of atonement”. On Yom Kippur some people wear white and refrain from eating or drinking from sundown the night before to sundown the night of — approximately 24 hours. By this time you may have already apologized to the people around you that you may have hurt. Now it’s time to apologize to God for crimes against yourself, nature and the powers that be. We also take this time to remember dear loved ones who have passed away. There is a special yizkor memorial service and we light the ceremonial Yahrzeit Candle. The Garden of Memories Yahrzeit Candle Holder with ‘Forever in our Hearts’ Matchbox Cover adds deep meaning and great beauty to this tradition.
At this time of great darkness, I would like to offer my prayers to the end of hate, a coming together of humanity to take care of the earth and all who dwell here. Even if you are not Jewish, you can join us in this time of introspection, gratitude and awe. Contact me directly for free tickets to High Holy Day Services and Congregation Beth Israel Judea in San Francisco.
With Love and Gratitude,