I was sitting with the community this year, instead of the choir, taking in every prayer and song, while trying to sing with the Cantor and the choir. After singing the prayer Sim Shalom, I was overwhelmed with the feeling of guilt.
Why am I feeling so happy and light?
Am I enjoying myself too much?
I keep crying , but I am not sad.
Should I not feel more remorse?
Should I not feel more somber? After all, this is the holy day, not a holiday.
I am not bored…
I felt confused and a little scared of: what if this is not right? I can't and won't go back to the alternative – long, boring services in other synagogues.
So I did what I have been taught in all my coaching sessions. I identified my outcomes:
To experience Jewish learning. What does it mean to me as a woman, mom, a Jew and most importantly as a human?
To enrich my kids and family's life with love of Judaism. So that no matter where they go, Judaism is always with them in their heart and soul
To teach my kids that life is not just about them. They have a responsibility as a Jew to themselves, to their past, to their children, and to their community and the world.
To find a place where I can contribute, grow, learn academically, spiritually and religiously.
To feel and be connected to myself and others.
My conclusion: I felt more connected to myself, to my ancestors, to my children and to everyone in that temple yesterday than ever before. I contemplated the prayers and what they mean to me, more than ever before. I belong to Judaism and Judaism belongs to me.
My mom had lost faith and connection to Judaism over the years and after being diagnosed with breast cancer again, she did not even want to come to the temple. Yet she came, she prayed, she cried, and left the services with a totally different attitude. She was uplifted and filled with hope.
My teenage daughter said to me, “Mom, I feel so high and so happy. I really loved the services.”
Do you remember when you were a teenager and how you felt about the services of High Holy Days? From these services, my child believes that we belong to Judaism and Judaism belongs to us.
So I feel like I am home, this is were I belong, and if that means I have to suffer and be happy and spiritually-uplifted, instead of guilty and somber, so be it.