Sunday, September 20, 2009

A New Year and lots of simple pleasures...

No, I'm not going crazy and yes I know that we are a good 4 months (is that all?!) away from January 1st, 2010 but this weekend I got a little glimpse into the celebration of the Jewish New Year - Rosh Hashanah. Shanna Tova (I hope I said that correctly)! My second fam invited me to join in the festivities, and I've gotta say I am loving being included in all the Jewish holidays and getting to learn the significance behind each one and getting to learn all about the traditions firsthand from a Jewish family. I have been interested in learning more about Judaism for a long time as my father came from a Jewish family, but it hasn't been until this year that I have really had an opportunity to and I am just relishing it and soaking up every bit that I can.

Now I am not going to lie, the services were LONG, VERY LONG, but I have to say that despite my butt falling asleep a couple of times during the service, the entire experience was a really important one for me and well worth it in the end.

During the Jewish high holiday of Rosh Hashannah it is believed that God writes what is destined to happen in the upcoming year; who will live, who will die etc etc etc. God bases his writing upon people's behavior. And while in the end everyone must die, it is possible to lessen the severity of death by being a good person.

Interesting idea isn't it? It sure as heck was motivating me to be more aware of my actions as I was sitting and listening and it was also a wonderful and much needed reminder that in a world full of sadness and hurt, kindness is the most important.

The service was full of ritual, prayer, torah reading, singing etc etc. While a lot of it was done in Hebrew, which sounded beautiful, I of course couldn't understand a lick. Lucky for me the copies of the Machzor (the book they read from during Rosh hashanah) had english translations so I could follow along with the stories and prayers. And I have to say that a lot of it was truly touching, I was even moved to tears a few times! There was one prayer in particular the machzor that was so beautiful that it made me cry, I can't remember the name of it off the top of my head and can't find it on google yet, but I will, and when I do, I'll post it!

The other part of the sermon that got me teary was the Rabbi's sermon. He gave a beautiful sermon about Resilience and Rejuvenation that was so appropriate given the events of the past year. The rabbi defined resilience as the ability to adjust to a new reality, often a reality that you have not necessarily chosen for yourself. He talked about 8 different ways to cultivate greater resilience, but these were the 3 that really stuck out for me; 1) reaching out to others 2) finding a place to rejuvenate ( There was an interesting side story from the Machzor about a man who goes to a city called Beresheet to restore his spirits. The rabbi emphasized the importance of everyone finding a place to rejuvenate their spirits during difficult times and at the end of the story the Rabbi asked us, Where is your Beresheet? Good question to think about, I think :).) and 3) practicing gratitude.

In my own life in the past year, these 3 things have been absolutely critical in my work to continue moving on and finding joy and purpose in life.

I have been so fortunate to find a wonderful group of girlfriends nearby, a loving and nurturing place to call home and an ability to recognize the many simple pleasures in my everyday life that remind me of just how good I have it, even if life isn't always all fairy taley and perfect.

Okay, so I've rambled on and on long enough now about Rosh Hashannah.

Besides the Jewish New Year, there were lots of other lovely things going on this weekend, here are some of the highlights :)....

Women's Vball: Stanford v. USF. Stanford won, and it was a really exciting game!

Trader Joe's carries Saffron!! Yay! Oh the possibilities!

Beautiful view of kites flying over the bay from Pac. Heights.

Erica, Melissa and I in the city.

Mmmmm....french toast and chai at Jovino's.

Beautiful sunflowers from Melissa :). What a sweet end to the weekend don't you think?!


Hanna's Mommy said...

Sounds like quite the experience! I think it's such a good thing to open oneself up to different cultures and religions. You never know what you can extract from it and then apply to your own life.

I too have been moved to tears before while sitting in church. Isn't that just the most amazing and powerful thing?!! It's as if you just feel the spirit and presence of God radiating through every little fiber of your being. The only thing that I was saddened by was the fact that it was such a personal experience and I wanted so badly to share it fully with Danny who was sitting next to me. But something like that is a gift from God for just you at that moment.

And can I just say again what a charmed life you live?! Love the pics of the city!

Blake Bunch said...

DITTO what Hanna's Mommy said! :))) Gosh, I wish I had time to leave a better comment! Cookies in the oven and Dougie home from work in oh about NOW!

Pipas para la paz said...

yay so glad you posted again, not like it had been super long, but i missed reading your posts! sounds like that service was a really good experience. and i love that you're totally growing as a person in general and spiritually as well. i love you like a sister and love your posts like one too. :) meheheh love you!