Monday, September 28, 2009
Yom Kippur. I miss the old neighborhood today. A few old neighborhoods, in fact. Men in long black wool coats, hats, walking in clusters to temple. In the building on Manhattan's lower east side, a new condominium with twenty-six stories, the elevator buttons have all been pushed so that no one needs to do that work today. My first neighborhood in Chicago was adjacent to a Hasidic seminary. I loved watching out my window as the young men gestured passionately, arguing the finer points of the law, or maybe the fate of the Chicago Cubs, I was never sure. Yom Kippur. Repent. Turn around. Heartfelt contrition. Grief, sorrow at what I've done. One doesn't need to go to temple to move through this process. Some find it harder to focus on the essentials of the occasion in the company of others. Yet, we are called to gather. I'm not one to venture into religious services these days. Distraction, disturbing memories. It is hard to get past that. So. Here I am. Repenting online. Within this small community that gathers from time to time to share reflections and ideas here where the palm tree in Poland intrigues and amuses. I am praying today, reflecting and resolving. And, I have to confess: it would be a good thing if the religious community of which I am a part (not Judaism) might consider doing likewise. Not necessarily today, it's not their occasion. But once, some time. Wouldn't that be amazing. Then again, it's taken seventy years for the Berlin Philharmonic to come to Warsaw, this past Saturday, to play a concert, an act of contrition, of reconciliation. Seventy years. I can wait. I expect I'll have to.