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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Something profound

At the end of Yom Kippur, I feel like I should have something profound to say. I don’t really have any big observations–I enjoyed the day and it was much more uplifting than I expected. If you think about it–what did I know going into Yom Kippur?

It is the Day of Atonement. The day that the book of life is sealed for the year with all of God’s decrees. Who shall live and who shall die–all sealed up. That we fast–a total dry fast–for 24ish hours. That you are about to pass-out from hunger and thirst and you are busy repenting for all your sins. Sins against god, sins against other people, sins against yourself. Sins of love, sins of judgment, sins of omission, sins of neutrality.

I wondered–how do people learn the prayers and melodies for holidays that happen once a year (I’ve had enough trouble with shabbat melodies.) Repetition, repetition, repetition. That is how. How many times did we list the alphabet of sins or sing Alvinu Malkeinu.

The fast wasn’t difficult, but it helped that I only left the sanctuary two or three times over the course of the day. Twice to hit the bathroom (not that there was any need, HELLO! I wasn’t drinking gallons of water or anything) and once during Yiskor to stand by the beach. The tradition says that if your parents haven’t died, you leave during Yiskor–lest you jinx them. It is a conservative tradition, but one that let me stretch my legs. Plus–I don’t want to jinx my parents length of life by going to a memorial service.

We had a lovely dinner last night. I now have quite the chevurah to be with. Chevurah is a group of friends, comrades, people in a similar life stage that you can grow with. After services last night, I sat in a park and talked to Brad for a couple hours. Then today for break-the-fast, I went with some folks to a Chinese buffet. Eventually this restaurant will figure it out and start advertising as the place to be for break-the-fast. They have a parking lot and a huge buffet.

The major challenge, of course, is not to accidentally eat pork or shrimp. Which I think I might have done–the culprit was a spring roll. But I loaded up on veggies–green beans and mushrooms. Lo mein, some chicken and at the end a little ice cream and some cookies. Lots of water and a diet coke (ah caffeine. How I missed you.)

But really, the fast wasn’t hard. I wasn’t thinking, “Oh my god, I’m so hungry, when will I eat.” In fact there were few moments when I was aware of my stomach being empty. More so was the no water part, but I think if I was drinking water, I would have been more hungry–my stomach would have been a little more alive. It was just pleasant–the whole holiday season for me has been pleasent and new and fun.

My conversion is now right around the corner and tonight I got to catch up with a few more Jews by Choice that I rarely see (or in one case, had no idea wasn’t a born Jew.) It is such a great congregation–while everyone is willing to talk about their choice to convert, converts aren’t held at an arms length. They are an important part of the cloth of our shul. At the same time, nobody ignores their past. Nobody makes you pretend that your life pre-judaism didn’t matter, because it did. Without it–where would we be?

So it is time for me to crawl into bed. While I did nothing physical today, I’m a little on the wiped side and do have to go to work in the morning.

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