Friday, September 17, 2010

A Meaningful Fast

Tonight at sunset is the beginning of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. Observant Jews fast for 24 hours and go to services. It is meant to be a day of prayer, reflection and repentance.

There are three forms or good wishes I see around Yom Kippur every year: a wish for an easy fast, a wish for a meaningful fast, and the more religious Gmar Hatima Tov, a wish that the person receiving the greeting is inscribed in the book of life for good.

While roughly 70% of Israel's Jewish population is categorized as secular I read this week that only 6% refrain from observances during the High Holy Days. I believe it is the same for many American and other diaspora Jews who disregard observance during most of the year. Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are different.

So... if you are observing the Yom Kippur holiday this year, may it be a meaningful fast and a meaningful day for you.

NOTE: Cross-posted from my personal blog.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Shana Tovah

This evening at sundown is the start of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. It is also the beginning of the High Holy Days for Jewish people, 10 days of reflection and penitence. It is the start of the year 5177, a year that is shaping up to be interesting to say the least.

New year's resolutions are not part of the Jewish tradition but I am going to make one anyway. In the coming year I will be reviving this blog and writing actively about Israel and Jewish issues. If there ever was a time when we needed more pro-Israel voices, more hasbara than now, well... I haven't seen it. The old saw, attributed to Lenin, that a lie told enough times becomes the truth, has certainly shown itself to be true in discussions of and news coverage of Israel and the Middle East. It is time I once again take an active role in debunking myths and discrediting lies and telling the truth about what is happening in our world.

I would like to take a moment to wish everyone Shana Tovah. May the coming year be happy, healthy, prosperous and sweet for you.