Everyone loves a holiday—they bring people together as they provide us an opportunity to share stories, values, and ideas that we hold dear. Every holiday – whether religious or secular – creates a unique moment when we can bring to life the stories of the past and have a conversation about what it means to us today.
This evening, my family will gather to celebrate the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. One of the many rituals that accompany this celebration is the eating of apples dipped in honey. The apple symbolizes the world and the honey represents the sweetness that should cover the world in the coming year. It is a small and delicious reminder of the high hopes that come with a new beginning.
Children thrive on traditions, holidays and rituals. Whether it is football on Thanksgiving Day, attending church on Christmas, or having a traditional Passover meal, the opportunity a holiday provides to talk with your children and share family traditions with them is a unique one. Through conversation and stories, any holiday becomes a meaningful and fun moment for an entire family.
Around my family’s Rosh Hashanah table, I share the following story: God sends us a letter several times a year by giving us the holidays. The holiday of Rosh Hashanah reminds us that life is busy. We have deadlines to meet, responsibilities that keep us up, and worries to fill our minds. Yet from time to time, the holidays that we celebrate are a reminder that we are here to make the world a better, more hopeful place, the kind of place it becomes on a special occasion such as a holiday
I love to read and look for my “souvenir”—a passage from a story that I want to remember and share. In this Jewish New Year, 5771, I want to share a souvenir written by one of my favorite Jewish philosophers—Abraham Heschel~
“I prayed for wonders instead of happiness and you gave them to me.”