Where does the time go? If you are like I am, this has been the shortest, longest year ever. None of us knew that we were in for the craziness that has existed in 2020, but here we are.
We have missed a lot and learned a lot. We are missing people. We are missing companionship. We are missing human contact. We are missing a sense of community. In many ways, we are missing religion.
Most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about “religion”. We think about G-d when things happen, both good and bad. We think about temples when the holidays come around. We may think about spirituality when we lose a loved one, but we don’t often thing about religion.
According to Wikipedia (because it’s easy) Religion is a social-cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. If they say so….
To me, religion is a way of recognizing my ancestry, my traditions, my beliefs, my morals and my convictions. The way that happens is by my involvement. When we are involved in religion, we are involved in community. For most of us, religion is important during the most important moments in life. We have circumcisions and baby namings, rites of passage, marriages and funerals. From beginning to end, we have religion. Lately though, I am finding that religion is more than that.
All of the things we are missing, we get from religion. Being involved with religion means being involved with people. Whether it’s joining a temple, volunteering with an organization, belonging to a Sisterhood, Men’s Club, Hadassah or Senior Group, it’s all about the people. Right now, we are missing people and companionship. Religion supplies that. Human contact also comes from the interactions of religion. We attend services, meetings, events, holidays, and other programs that put us in the midst of activity. This all leads to a sense of community that we are also trying to make do without.
So here come the holidays. We are doing without so much and we have to think about how we are going to celebrate the Jewish New Year and observe Yom Kippur. Since most of us are sheltering from home, we need to find alternative ways of praying. For many people, that means technology. Some will post pictures of their festivities on social media and share their recipes for the holidays – many of which have been passed down for generations. Some will reach out to friends and family via Skype or Zoom. Some will log into their synagogue’s web page to watch services either live, streamed or archived. There is a new online synagogue called ShalomAtHome.org that is going to be offering muliti-generational prayer services, classes and groups – all that can be attended from anywhere. The Jewish Pavilion is delivering over 350 goodie bags to residents of elder-care communities. (Special thanks to the Pargh Foundation and Andy Pargh).
What are you doing? Are you making something special? Are you cooking for one or for a group? Are you staying home? Are you attending services? Are you watching services online? We are again at that point where we need to thing about the holidays.
Since so many of us learned at Passover how much we missed our families, now is the time to make plans. Erev Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on September 18, 2020. It’s right around the corner. Now’s the time to get ready for the holidays, again. Happy and Healthy. Enjoy!