Yom Kippur came and went. I had never done all-day services before...and now that I have, I can honestly say I likely won't do it again. I got a lot out of Kol Nidre and morning services, sharing our apologies with the entire community. I loved singing Avinu Malkeinu in evening services. I enjoyed the discussion of the Book of Jonah, and the Yizkor (memorial) service was very touching. At Yizkor, Rabbi S. said that after someone dies, we should try to keep part of what we loved about them alive in ourselves, not just in memory, but in our own actions. We went around the room and mentioned things we loved about those we've lost. I said "There are so many things I loved about R, but what stands out most of all is that every time we talked, he made me feel like I was the most important person in the world. No matter what I was saying, it mattered." S. said "You have a tall order this year." "I know."
Other aspects of the all-day services didn't do it for me. I'm constantly finding and redefining my limits in terms of religious practice. I learned that full-body prostration in a conservative re-enactment of the first Yom Kippur makes me think theater, not prayer...especially when I haven't eaten all day. I wasn't annoyed or bored, just...uninspired. I'm still glad I went. I would have always wondered otherwise, and I didn't even know ceremonies like that existed in Jewish practice. When I told my mom I spent all day at Yom Kippur services she said "That sounds worse than having a gyno appointment and a mammogram in the same day!" My attempts to explain only lead to exclamations such as "What a WASTE of a day! You could have been at the beach or something! You could have been working!" Oh well. I can't expect her to keep her opinions to myself if I want her to hear mine.
Several times throughout the day, Rabbi S. asked us to take a few moments and focus on two or three small goals we could actually achieve in the new year. My problem is that I don't have goals that small right now. Sure, I'd like to think that by this time next year, I will be treating my body the way it deserves to be treated. But I'm having trouble breaking that into smaller steps. I guess the first real challenge is actually bringing enough food to campus with me, and exercising regularly, even when I think I don't have time. I'm going to start with that, and see how it goes. Right now I'm exercising every day. We'll see how I act under pressure, and next year on Yom Kippur, I'd like to know that I've at least made some progress.
Sukkot Shabbat is tomorrow night, but more about that later. I have a series of memories attached to Sukkot that make the harvest holiday even sweeter. Predictable, isn't it?
My memory is so Jewish, that the streets of my present are paved with my past.