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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fast Break


Photos of the Day



According to the Jewish calendar it is the year 5773 and today is the tenth day of the month of Tishrei,  Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, a day of reflection, prayer and fasting in conclusion of the Days of Awe.

It is customary in Jewish circles to wish one another a Good Yom Tov - a good day and an easy fast, for a 25-hour period from sundown-to-sundown

The concept of an easy fast - fast and easy - can be confusing. Fasting would indicate some form of deprivation and discomfort - a disconnect between two ample  and often lavish holiday meals. But in Jewish circles the greeting, "Have an easy fast,” is generally understood to mean a concern for one another’s health and wellbeing. Our way of saying: be safe, be well.  





Somber as it may seem, Yom Kippur is after all a celebration, a cessation of work, a spiritual cleansing and liberation, a wiping of the slate, a time for repentance both public and private, a time for forgiveness. 





Altogether, it’s a good day.  




Yom Kippur is a holiday, a day ultimately set aside for rejoicing, marking the fall of leaves, the turn of another season in our lives, the harvest from the seeds we’ve planted, and the ingathering of family and friends to break-the-fast.

And then we feast.





There are those of us who spend the day in synagogues, in the fold and good fellowship of our congregations.  And there are those who for one reason or another find themselves observing the holiday of their own accord, on their own terms. . . sitting at a computer, for instance, writing.  Or alone.  Or surreptitiously at work.  Attending to business as usual.  





Jews.  We’re a complicated people. We come in many flavors.  There are many streams of observance.  We live in many nations.  Some would think of us as a nation unto ourselves, which has never been the case, not even in ancient times. There are those who think of us as a threat to peace today. . . those who would prefer to spread the seeds of fear and paranoia, in a misspent form of chauvinism of one people versus another.







On this day, if we could pray for just one thing, on this day, our day of atonement,  perhaps it would be for a turning back. . . a return to moderation. 

Imagine.  The rise of power . . . of moderates.  What a revolution that could be. 





On that theme, let me direct you to the moderate view of Thomas Friedman’s piece on the Opinion Page of the New York Times today.  Backlash to the Backlash.  

Wishing you a Yom Tov. . . and an easy fast reading.  




Photos: vhenoch
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