Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wow, ArtScroll really makes a difference!

This year for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, I tried some new Machzors I got from ArtScroll during their last Hanukkah sale. These were the interlinear type, where the English words are printed below the Hebrew words, so you can follow the English with the Hebrew. (Sample page) May be a tad confusing at first, but I've been using some of their other interlinear products (especially their Mincha/Maariv set) so I was used to it.

Wow, what a difference. Usually during Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur services, I can either follow some of the Hebrew, when they do some things I'm familiar with, or read in the English. But if I do one, I miss out on the other. With this, I got to experience several things both ways at once. For example, the Ashamnu (We have been guilty...) I could say it in Hebrew with the rest of the congregation, or I could read it to myself and understand it in English, but before, I couldn't do it at the same time, now I could. Same with the "Who will live, and Who will die" and "We are your people, you are our G-d", etc.

These were all things I knew how to say, and enjoyed saying them, or enjoyed reading and understanding them in English, but the juxtaposition makes both possible at the same time. Ideally at some point, if I can learn Hebrew, then it wouldn't be an issue, but that's working out to be a lot more difficult than I had thought.

Of course Chabad has their own Machzor which doesn't follow ArtScroll, but between the two of them, with a lot of flipping around, I was able to get through the service and feel more fulfilled for having done it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Why is it on Yom Kippur...

Why on Yom Kippur does conversation always seem to turn to food?

I was mentioning to one member of our shul, who rides, how my Jewish motorcycle group would be having a meeting next month at a kosher restaurant. Then we started talking about the kosher restaurant business (business is hard, when the economy turns bad, people stop eating out), then about specific restaurants here and in Baltimore, then about Dougies, Subway, etc. It was about 4:30 pm (Mussaf was over around 3:15 pm, Mincha was at 4:45, so it wasn't worthwhile to go home), so talking about food definitely wasn't helping my fast. I made it, but didn't need the reminder midday! :-)

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Laya's parents and her brother came down to stay with us for Rosh Hashana. Her brother had to be back at work Thursday morning, and her parents are leaving on a trip to Israel next week and needed to pack; so as soon as the Yom Tov was over, they had to leave.

We had already put Tikvah and Ahava to bed (they were yawning all through the evening), but once the door was open and Laya's brother started taking out the suitcases, Tikvah came down the stairs, soon followed by Ahava. Tikvah said "Daddy, I'm very sad that they are leaving." I reassured her that it was normal to be sad when people leave. Then she said "I almost feel like I'm going to cry!" (as she said that, her eyes got watery, and her lips started quivering. I gave her a hug, and reassured her, and pointed out that sometimes when our guests leave, mommy (Laya) does cry, so it's OK if you need to cry to let it out. Finally she said "Daddy, it hurts right here, it's hard to swallow" pointing to the lower part of her throat. Ahava, ever the echo of Tikvah, said it hurt her there too. This time Laya swooped in and said that it hurt her there too when people left and she was sad.

I then reminded Tikvah that it's nice when people visit, but at some point every does need to go home to get back to their lives. Otherwise, if we focus so much on how much it hurts when we leave, then no one will want to visit other people, because no one will want to leave. I also assured her that we would see them again.

After that, the kids felt a little better, and went off to bed without too much more of a protest. I went back downstairs. It always amazes me how well Tikvah is able to articulate her feelings. Even if she doesn't know the "adult" words, she can still describe how she's feeling, and even the physical aspects. I never thought about the tightness in the throat, but that happens to me as well. And as I told her, it's always sad when our guests leave, but better to experience that sadness than not have them at all.