I used to really dislike Yom Kippur. I'd become cranky from fasting. The prayers seemed to encourage more self-judgment when I was working to reduce that in my life. And, if we were going to gather together, couldn't it be more joyful?!
With time, I learned more about the powerful movement of the day. From one sunset to another, we move from death to life: from heartbreak to heart opening, from vulnerability to embrace, from fear to love, from darkness to light.
That I could get excited about!
Then this year, a friend of mine posed the question: What makes this big transformation possible?
Here the response is both simple and profound. The transformative power lies in our spoken words. On Yom Kippur we are invited to speak our truths: the mistakes we made, consciously or not, in the past year, and the changes we seek to make in the year ahead.
We speak them aloud, so we can hear them and set them free. We speak them aloud, so we can let go of the mistakes and let in the intentions.
We speak them aloud to make them real. So here it goes:
In the precious year ahead, I will spend more time in nature and less time within arm's reach of my phone.
I will trust more deeply and let go of some anxiety.
I will open my heart to vulnerability and open my ears to hear more fully.
I will see my life as enmeshed in a societal structure that desperately needs rebuilding and in a fragile environment that is hurting. I can't do the repair work alone, but I also can't run away from the task.
I will cultivate humility and courage together.
On this holy day ahead, may we each speak the words that need to be said. May we raise our voices as individuals and as a collective. May it be so.
Sending love and sweetness as we turn into this New Year together, Rabbi Bethie Miller
Yom Kippur Outdoor Gathering Because we stand as one on this holiest of days. We’ll meet in nature for an afternoon of meditation, prayer and reflection. We have a few spots left in the 3:45p group. Email email@example.com for details.
High Resolution Holiday Meditation Because many people are creating new ways to connect. Produced by Brooklyn Jews, this video can help you prepare for Yom Kippur or be part of your celebration of the day.