Victoria’s Diary: The Days of Awe

All six grandchildren near the fire pit as they made s’mores for dessert.

My family of 12 gathered together to celebrate Rosh Hashanah in the year 5,781 of the Jewish faith.

The holiday represents the beginning of the Jewish New Year, commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance culminating in Yom Kippur.

This year’s celebration was like no other. Since I was a little girl, I went with my parents to the synagogue to celebrate the holiday and when I had a family of my own, I took my children to services. 

I am always in awe of the magnificent music and voices sharing the prayers and profound words of the rabbi leading the services. But this year is different due to the pandemic and my synagogue offered the holiday services via Zoom.

 There I was in my bed, listening to the prayers and powerful choir singing their hearts out. The cantor’s singing was so beautiful, that I closed my eyes and felt his passion coming through my screen. It was a strange experience, yet an intimate way to celebrate and pray for redemption to be placed in the Book of Life on Yom Kippur

My favorite part of the service is the blowing of the Shofar, a trumpet made from a ram’s horn. This year, Temple Sinai of Roslyn’s horn blower’s blasts rang out with the longest I’ve ever heard. Awesome! 

With great fortune, my children and their children gathered for a celebratory holiday dinner.

Cousins Blake and Hudson “consulting” during the celebration.

Whenever I feel overwhelmed by life, I dig into my mental pictures of my darling grandchildren playing, laughing and chatting away with each other. 

In fear of COVID-19, we had a delicious dinner served in my daughter Samantha’s backyard. Fortunately the weather cooperated perfectly. How blessed I was to have them all well with me and able to safely celebrate the beginning of the Jewish New Year.

My warm wishes to all my readers celebrating the holidays.

The loss of RBG

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Brooklyn-born Supreme Court Justice, who is a brilliant graduate from my James Madison High School, made our country more just and brought greater equality and dignity to us all. She was one of the giants who walked our Earth.

As Rabbi Michael A. White, of Temple Sinai of Roslyn wrote in a note to his congregation, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg is evidence that God is real in this world. God grants some among us extraordinarily powerful souls. Such giants do not simply live; they are not passively carried through life by its currents, responding to its blessings and challenges.”

And he continued to say, she lifted the suffering of many and her influence will redound to future generations. “Monumental souls like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, changed the world,” he said.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

He went on to say that Ginsburg was a “quiet warrior, full of courage, persistence, determination — a graceful giant.”

Rabbi White eloquently spoke about how RBG’s great convictions and commitments are our inheritance. Her fight for justice and equality are now our fight, our battle. 

In her last interviews, she was asked how she wanted to be remembered and she said, “Whatever you choose to do, leave tracks. You want to leave this world a little better for having lived.”