What follows below is a very slightly edited version of the sermon I delivered on the first day of Rosh Hashanah in my own synagogue. It was as much a personal statement about my own quest to invest life with meaning as it was a conventional sermon, but upon reflection... if that isn't legitimate fodder for a sermon, I'm not sure what is.
I hope that you find it meaningful, and I wish you all a G'mar Hatima Tovah-
For Walter Green, a retired entrepreneur who resettled in California from the New York City area, the concept of giving thanks is not limited to one day a year. Many Jews, in their daily prayers or meditations, make a point of showing gratitude.
Almost purely by accident, my husband and I ended up in a wild, raw landscape of olive groves, crumbling white-stone walls and vast blue sea views at every bend in the road. We were in Apulia — or Puglia, as the Southern Italian region is known locally — in search of that perfect Italian beach vacation: a little culture, a dose of history, but mostly gorgeous scenery and golden sand.
Casting one’s sins, symbolically, upon the waters is a minor part of the High Holy Days, certainly less important and less spiritually valuable than Rosh HaShanah’s shofar, Yom Kippur’s fasting and both days’ prayer and repentance. Nonetheless, Tashlich is a strong tradition.
Like at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, above, where Jews have gathered for decades, walking from nearby Crown Heights and Borough Park and Flatbush, to throw breadcrumbs into the lake, to read some biblical verses and to mingle.
There is nothing like waking up to the siren song of the shofar to remind me that I’m not in Chicago any more.
Which is another way of saying, if I had forgotten that I had up and moved to Jerusalem, suddenly, I remembered.
It could have something to do with the fact that my bedroom is so close to a synagogue that when they blew the shofar during morning minyan every day this month of Elul, I felt like my bed had catapulted out the window and flown straight into the middle of the sanctuary, hovering mid-air near the bima.
A friend and I were recently discussing some stereotypical 'health nut' foods - things like tofu, bean sprouts and quinoa (two out of three of which I've featured in this column. And another of the foods we mentioned was lentils. But lentils really get a bad rap. In truth, they're a cheap and seriously good-for-you food, chock full of protein, fiber and vitamins. Added with some antioxidant-laden spinach, this is one side dish that you can feel good about taking a second helping of over the holidays.