For years I was very flexible about my celebration of Rosh Hashanah. If I could, I spent it with family. If that wasn’t convenient, I found other ways to observe the holiday. Some years I went to services, some years I didn’t. What really mattered was eating something sweet and reflecting on the past and on the future.
Another year I was in Berlin, by myself. I found a synagogue on the map, but didn’t have the energy to investigate it on my own. I felt that my anonymity in the city exempted me from any formal observance, and I settled for a pastry and some time writing in my journal.
Traveling on the holidays gives them an exotic appeal and makes them more memorable, and I do think that Rosh Hashanah is more a state of mind than anything else. But I also find that B’nai Israel provides an inspiring physical place and a spiritual community that helps to cultivate reflection and contemplation. Just knowing where I will be makes the holiday sweeter than Swedish cookies or German pastries.
Have you, like Anat, found yourselves away from home for the holidays? How did you mark the turning of the year? Do you have stories to share? You can add them by clicking 'comments', or you can mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org for posting.
If you are a member of B'nai Israel and traveling over the High Holydays, you can find other Reform congregations in the United States near where you are traveling here and a letter of reciprocity, available from our Temple office, can facilitate your visit. You can find Progressive synagogues in other parts of the world here, and all synagogues worldwide here.