Yom Kippur: The ABC’s of sinning

I write this with a pure heart, an open mind and a clean slate as I enter into the new year. This past 26 hours was Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, a fast day. I emerge with my body cleansed, my soul uplifted and my mind cleared of evil thoughts (for the moment at least). Yom Kippur in Israel is truly an experience I will never forget. While it was nice to be in Jerusalem for Rosh HaShanah, the fact that I am here hit me with Yom Kippur. First of all, there are no cars on the street. The traffic lights are all turned off, and literally, the only cars on the road are those of the emergency vehicles that drive around to make sure that those who are fasting are safe walking to and from Shul. The city is quiet, so nice, that i even took the long way home from services last night. It is amazingly peaceful to be in this city with no cars honking; to just sit and listen to the peace and quiet of antiquity, and to wonder what these streets must have been like so many years ago, when Yom Kippur was a day of sacrifice for our sins at the temple instead of beating our chests together.
Services this year also brought me new meaning, and confirmed for me how much i have changed in the last year. I approached services, not expecting to get what i’m missing when I’m not at home, but looking for new experiences, for a meaningful way to begin this year. I wasn’t looking to find experiences that compared to years past, but rather, looking for an experience that would have meaning for me. For Kol Nidre, I went to a minyan called Leader Minyan. A minyan where they daven the traditional matbea (Set service) and actually say outload or sing every word. An incredibly moving and awe inspiring experience. Kol Nidre, my favorite service lasted 4 hours, and i wasn’t distracted or bored for even a second. My head was in the game and i was completely in the moment. Everyone was dressed in white (including the naked woman infront of me), and totally in the moment. For Yom Kippur day, i went to Kedem, the egalitarian minyan i went to for Rosh HaShanah. The davening was pretty good, and suited my needs. The best part was that I was Eve, the person, not Eve the rabbinical student. I was able to be myself, daven without other people’s expectations. I davened for myself, I prayed for my family, for my friends, for my soul. I repented, did a self evaluation, repented some more. I spoke with God, i felt close to God, i felt close to myself, and i felt clean, pure, relieved.
This year, it didn’t matter what machzor I had, we each had our own books, our own personal prayers and were guided by the same liturgy. We repented together, and apart, we supported one another, followed the rhythm of the day with the rhythm of our hearts, and moved together in a symphony of love of God, love of judaism.
And i emerge from Yom kippur with renewed energy and faith. I am happy, I am content, I am at peace with God, and working on being at peace with myself. Slowly, each day I continue to grow. I know that this growth is very much due to my incredible summer family. The 10 people who supported me daily, lifted me up, helped me to center, find myself, explore my faith and my beliefs. My summer family, who are in my thoughts, and my prayers every day. Then, there is my new family, my Israel family, who ground me when I’m lost, help me find my way around this strange city, listen to me, encourage me, and support me. This family consists of friends, both old, from LA, from past experiences, and new, from my first few weeks here. The beauty of this family is that it doesn’t matter how long we’ve known each other or even how we know each other. We are each here, present, ready and willing to help one another. It is for friends like these that i am grateful this year, friends who help me smile and laugh when life is hard, who fill my tummy when i need to eat, and feed my soul when I need some comfort!
And so, i begin this year, with a full tummy thanks to my pasta before and after the fast, with a full soul from my davening and a happy heart from my friends and family. I know that no matter what comes my way, i can handle it! I am ready to embrace the world, and I am happy! LOVE TO ALL!!

One thought on “Yom Kippur: The ABC’s of sinning

  1. P. Pod October 8, 2006 / 1:33 pm

    Eve, Your ability to beat your chest amazes me…p


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