Rosh Hashanah 2011–Epilogue

Rosh Hashanah 2011 is now in the books.

The people who brought me into this world live in Florida.

Other relatives live in New York.

Many friends who care about me live in Los Angeles.

Yet far away from everyone, in Houston, Texas, I experienced Rosh Hashanah.

Experienced is a more appropriate word than celebrated because it is difficult to just bond with strangers. I am quite social, and am still overwhelmed at the kindness of people in this world.

One man invited me to his home for dinner with his family. Taken aback, I replied, “I’m a complete stranger.” He responded “I’m much stranger than you.”

It was a lovely experience and I will forever be grateful for his graciousness and hospitality. The world can be a lonely and isolating place when we do not know anyone. To him, it was a dinner invitation. To me, it was a gesture of pure kindness.

During the day I engaged in the ritual of “Tashlich,” where we take bread and throw it into the river and feed the ducks and fish. This is a metaphor for casting away our sins. The river in this case was a gully. An entire Summer of triple digit Texas heat will do that to most bodies of water. Their was some bread, but Saltine crackers as well. I threw it as far and as hard as I could, knowing I have a much longer way to go than the bread and crackers did.

Next week is Yom Kippur, where we atone for our sins and go 24 hours without eating. Usually it is pretty easy for me, and the meal after the fast is enjoyable.

I know one thing, and that I am glad I will be back in Los Angeles. The Jewish community of Houston has been very nice to me, but this is their home. Los Angeles is mine. To be where people care about me most is where I prefer to begin the next Jewish year.

May you all be inscribed in the book of life. May the sweetness of the apples dipped in honey over dinner carry over for ages to come.


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