The month of the Chag, the High Holiday season, is a journey of renewal. I’m guilty of focusing on just Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, with the rest of the season as a bit of an afterthought. Taking a step back this year allows us to see this journey in a new light and find new meaning in these gifts from our Jewish ancestors.
This is the first in a series taking a look at the Chag while being at home and how to practically prepare. In 2 for Seder tradition we will include how to push back against anti-Semitism while celebrating.
We are simultaneously stuck at home and able to join services anywhere in the world. Start with one service per holiday and see how it feels by Zoom or social distancing. If you can’t put in a whole day, it’s OK this year.
Try to explore new aspects of the Chag, such as creating a “sukkah space” if you’ve never had a sukkah. Contemplation is a key part of the High Holiday journey – what is the meaning of each step for you?
Set aside temporary space just for prayer and reflection for each holiday. Decorate/mark it with flowers or family heirlooms, such as a grandfather’s kiddush cup or a great-aunt’s challah cover, to make it special. Check that your space has access to technology for virtual services – especially a big screen or connect your computer to the TV. Think about the Chag Journey above – change your space given the holiday to help you move forward. Our free Sukkot Guide has additional ideas.
You are NOT alone on this Journey. Make sure you reach out to your Pod, even if they aren’t all Jewish. Virtually, conference with family and friends throughout the Chag. Pick a reoccurring ritual that you will do together, maybe it’s Shabbat, maybe it’s every time you say a shehecheyanu, maybe it’s when you hear the shofar. Reach out more than you think you need to – there’s no such thing as over-communicating during COVID.
This journey is a time of feasting and denial. We add honey to make things sweet, from main dishes to extra desserts. You may have a little extra time this year – call up a family member and make a new recipe together in your own kitchens, then compare notes. You might create a new family tradition!
Make or buy a box of sweets and share with your neighbors of another faith. Sharing the sweetness of the High Holidays is always appreciated – especially when we are isolated from each other.
Join us on October 6th for Singing In the Sukkah!