We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The Jewish High Holy Days, the Days of Awe or the Days of Repentance as they are often called, begins tonight with Rosh Hashanah and ends in ten days with Yom Kippur. Compared to other Jewish holidays full of joy and laughs, these are somber days during which our deeds are weighed and our fate sealed for the coming year. G-d weighs our measure in fulfilling our responsibilities to G-d. Others weigh our measure in how we behave to them, and for those we have harmed will our confessions to them, our entreaties for forgiveness, and demonstrations of living better be considered real. Words alone are far from enough. Our actions are necessary in how we live.
We draw inspiration from G-d, and we draw upon our decency and learning to behave in a just way.
The traditional Jewish egg bread, the challah, is usually an elongated braided loaf for the Sabbath. On Rosh Hashanah we bake the challah in a circlular braid, symbolizing the crown of G-d our King and our reverence to G-d's commandments. Many centuries of experience across lands and cultures have proven them to work and be best. We dip apple slices and challah in honey to symbolize our hopes and wishes for a sweet new year to come.
There are many prayers of public confession and begging for forgiveness from G-d and from our fellow beings. Most are ancient and carry special meanings and messages. Some are more recent, or annotated, to help deliver relevant meaning to the reader or listener. There are personal prayers for our own improvement. Most come down to the basic asking G-d to help us find the strength within to do what's right. It is our responsibility to reach down deep and live up to our better self. That is my daily prayer, and it works.
Whether Jewish or other, may the coming year be one of living better.