As I sit here re-reading this Yom Kippur reflection, I notice that this may be overwhelming for some, it discusses requirements of arranged marriage and the practice of hair-shaving for religious purposes. Please read with care and put it aside if it stirs up too much.
I am not one of those people who look at the New Year as a time to write up goals or resolutions. To me the Jewish New Year has always been about reflecting, noticing where I am, what is working, and what I would like to change. It is a time to observe what is, and figure out where to go from there.
In the Book of Esther, which is read on the Jewish holiday of Purim, we find that after Esther finds out about the plot to kill the Jews she invites her husband, the king, as well as his advisor Haman to a banquet.
On Sunday afternoon, the Eve of Rosh Hashanah, I found myself driving down to the southern New Jersey cemetery where my maternal grandparents are buried. It is customary to go to the graves of loved ones before the High Holidays, but I rarely actually do this ritual. I have been known to visit loved one’s burial sites on their Yahrtzeit (the anniversary of their death).
I was 23 years old with three children when I left my arranged marriage. Perhaps out of necessity, perhaps due to circumstances, I had created a life for myself where busyness and packed schedules were the norm. I was raising the kids, going to school, working multiple jobs. I had this dream… I would be 40 when […]