It’s not, quite yet, but soon the moon will be waning and we are building up to Rosh Hashanah. A little over two weeks and we will be there.
If you love these services, enjoy them well.
If they feel long, challenging or dull here are three quick tips.
Beat the Rush
Part of the problem, for people less attuned to the huge service which is Rosh Hashanah, is that it can appear a little out-of-the-blue. If it’s been 50 odd weeks since you were last in shul ease yourself in gently. It’s an analogy I like enormously. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the Ring Cycle of the liturgy. Come for a Shabbat morning or a Friday evening – a bit of Gilbert and Sullivan or Mozart. It will help. In this Olympian year the importance of some good limbering up stretches before the big event seem particularly vital.
Give Yourself Space
Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and the whole apparatus of Teshuvah need space to work their magic. Pick up a book about these special days, try a web-site (www.myjewishlearning.com ) or come to one of the educational sessions I’m teaching this Shabbat or on Monday (with Stephen).
Bring What You Need to Shul
For some a Machzor will be enough. Or bring a book, Alan Lew’s This is For Real is a good suggestion, or go to one of the Jewish Booksellers, start a diary with scribbled thoughts from these days of preparation and take that. It’s not a day to follow, slavishly, every word of little-understood Hebrew. Allow your attention to be drawn to a line, a verse, an image and hold that thought.
I hope this helps, and I hope these days herald a sweet and healthy year for us all.
P.S. In honour of the Paralympic Games I will be speaking this Shabbat morning on Ability and Disability in Jewish Thought.