I don’t like Rosh Hashanah and I don’t like Yom Kipur. There are things I like about them–repentance (see Tshuvot!), shofars (see Where have all the shofarot gone? and Why I used a bullhorn last night) and pomegranates–but I have to admit that I’ve never been satisfied with either, no matter where I’ve been and no matter what my age.
So this year, I’m not going to go the same place twice during the season of repentance.
Sophomore and junior year of high school were the last two years I did the same thing twice for High Holidays–I went to the Reform synagogue I grew up at. Senior year of high school, I was in Israel. I spent Rosh Hashanah that year at Kibbutz Lotan (see Shanah Tovah! Cleansing in the desert) and Yom Kipur at Beit Shmuel (see David sees Texans, still hates Yom Kipur, cries), with a brief YK morning stint at an Orthodox Italian synagogue. Freshman year of college I tried a Reconstructionist shul for RH (see I’m not a Reconstructionist, but I play one on Rosh Hashanah). And last year, I did RH and YK at my adopted congregation here in NJ, Chavurat Lamdeinu.
Though elements of each of these years of RH and YK have been fine, I’ve never been satisfied with the overall experience. Whether it has to do with where I go or with my willingness or unwillingness to repent remains to be seen.
I’ll begin tonight with Erev RH services at Chavurat Lamdeinu, my usual place of davening these days.
Tomorrow morning, I’ll be at a Unitarian Church where a certain gospel music composer I happen to know will be helping to lead a service that will incorporate a number of gospel tunes. As far as I can tell, this service is not listed anywhere online. If you’re interested in going, it’s at All Souls Unitarian Church between on Lexington between 79th and 80th at 10:30 a.m. Let me know if you’re gonna bet there so I can we can say hi.
If the gospel crowd isn’t doing a tashlich thing, I’ll head over to the Brooklyn Bridge or something else equally iconic and do tashlich.
On Sunday, I’ll kick off my ten days of repentance by heading into Manhattan for The New Shul‘s “The House of Awe and Repentance Cafe“, part of their new senior rabbi‘s season of installation festivities. It promises to be an art installation involving a variety of media and exploring the concept of repentance. Or something. We’ll see.
And, finally, for Yom Kipur day, I’ll skew more traditional than my norm for a change. As noted, I’ve skewed to the left before when I tried out the Reconstructionist shul, but I’ve never tried something more traditional than what I’m used to. To that end, I’ll be heading back in to Manhattan for Kehilat Hadar‘s traditional-egal take on YK. As one fellow refugee of the Reform mainstream recently told me, “I like Hadar for YK because that’s the one time in the year when I want to feel as frum as possible.” Yeah. We’ll see how I feel about that when I’m still standing around in services trying not listen to my stomach.
Expect posts throughout this season of renewal and repentance chronicling my High Holidays Sampler Plate Adventure.
Shanah tovah umetukah!