Talya Curtis on her Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur

By FZY Year Course
November 17, 2010

September 21, 2010

Both Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are festivals where every Jew is required to reflect on and make sense of their lives, yet with the focus on what they want to achieve and improve in the coming year. For me this idea of personal aspiration and change was much more relevant than any other Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur I have experienced. Joel’s peulah (activity) on Rosh Hashanah stressed the importance of the Jewish symbolisms of each fruit, while also reminding us that this coming year will be different. Silly bands were placed in the middle of the circle and each one of us was instructed to collect one for the person sitting next to us and then relate the shape to a blessing we wish upon them for the New Year. It became clear to me that while this year is our own gap year, and our own time to grow, we are one group on a journey that will undoubtedly change us. With this in my mind I was ready to experience my first ever Rosh Hashanah in Israel.

Some friends and I stayed in my flat in Herzliya for the Chag and were able to go to an old age home for Shul. The services were inspiring to be a part of as the elderly members immediately embraced us. Their warm hospitality was much appreciated by us six girls, whose families were thousands of miles away.

Back in Arad, daily life was rekindled, yet we were already mentally preparing for Yom Kippur. Our peulah on Yom Kippur differed immensely to that on Rosh Hashanah. This time we were forced to solely look at ourselves in an interrogative manner. The lights were turned off, with only a few candles to light up the room. We were each given a booklet to read that asked us if we have ever stopped to look outside the framework of our lives and figure out what we have done so far. It then concluded by focusing on the future and telling us to “Choose our way.”

This Yom Kippur, like most Yom Kippurs, I had a lot of time to think and despite being hungry, thirsty and slightly bored in Shul, I found myself excited for the future, for my year in Israel on FZY. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur could not have taken place at a better time as we were all able to reflect and look forward. By doing so I am able to fully appreciate what is ahead of me; the opportunity to experience life in Israel, help the community around me and grow as a person.


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