friday, sepTemBer 16, 2011 .
JTN high holidays
wishes you shana Tova
.cmpcctr.rg 206-447-1967 email@example.com
s Cmp slm scctr td
Rgtrtbg octbrerl brddct lbl
Have you ever been sitting at a RoshHashanah or Yom Kippur service andasked yoursel, “Why am I eeling some-what distant rom the wording o theseprayers?” Or “Why do I eel so distractedhere and the service is so lengthy?”You are not alone. As a psychothera-pist and a Jewish author, I’ve heard romthousands o diverse Jews (rom the very religious to the not-very religious to theextremely not religious) who told me they elt bored or dgety at times during HighHoliday services in previous years.Fortunately, there are some highly eective ways to connect more deeply with the proound themes and lie-chang-ing insights that can be ound in the RoshHashanah and Yom Kippur services o nearly every congregation. Here are a eweasy-to-utilize steps on how to make thesecareully choreographed Days o Awemore meaningul to you or a member o your amily who eels bored or discon-nected rom High Holiday gatherings:
Let the music move you.
Te serviceswill come alive or you i you allow thebeautiul melodies, the talented voices,and the intense sounds o the shoar totake you to a place o proound wakingup. Rather than ocusing on what peopleare wearing or whose kids are misbehav-ing, or even whether the rabbi’s sermonis perect, let yoursel be lied up by thesoulul melodies that connect each o uswith hundreds o years o passionate and vulnerable Jews who have poured outtheir eelings o longing, sadness, joy, andgratitude at similar services during pleas-ant years and tragic years. As you listenclosely to the music and the call o theshoar, imagine yoursel surrounded by many generations o ancestors asking youlovingly, “Nu, how are you? How is yourbeautiul soul navigating this complicatedworld that is so challenging?”
Do some personal preparation.
Duringthe days leading up to Rosh Hashanah, pick a phrase or a theme rom the High Holiday prayer book that makes you curious aboutthe mysteries o lie or helps your soul ndits true purpose o doing some good in largeor small ways. Rather than getting bent outo shape by some harsh phrase rom theprayer book you don’t like, choose insteadto ocus on phrases and themes that youselect consciously to inspire and motivateyou in the days and weeks surrounding theHigh Holidays. For example, what is a vowyou made in the past year (to yoursel, toa loved one, or to someone at work) andthat you now realize you haven’t ully kept?What will it take or you to change that vowand create something new that is muchmore likely to be kept?
Take charge o your breathing and yourocus.
I’ve ound in my own lie and incounseling many dierent types o Jewishwomen and men that one o the best waysto enjoy the High Holiday services and getmore insights rom them is i you noticeyour breathing whenever possible duringthe lengthy services. Silently say “
,here I am,” a powerul ocusing phrasethat you can utilize whenever you eel dis-tracted, tense, or rustrated. I you remem-ber to breathe smoothly and ully as youopen up your creative mind with thesewords, you may be surprised at how youstart to become less stressed and morecentered, not only at High Holiday ser- vices but throughout the rest o the year.
Let your heart speak your deepest truth.
At various points during the Rosh Hasha-nah and Yom Kippur services, you willbe given the opportunity to say out loudor to speak silently the truths, concerns,and aspirations you carry in your heart.In addition, you are being encouraged tospeak these truths to the mysterious Sourceo Lie that is beyond human comprehen-sion. Yet we eel especially close to themysterious One at these holiday gather-ings. Whether you are a strong believer ina loving Presence or you wrestle with many doubts, these Rosh Hashanah and YomKippur services ask you to dig deeply intoyour own heart and admit honestly, “Tisis where I have missed the mark,” “Tis iswhat I notice and appreciate about the gisin my lie,” and “Tis is what I am longingto improve in the coming year.” You willprobably nd that having the chance toslow down and connect with the still, small voice within as you express these prooundtruths is time well spent.
Look or opportunities or prog-ress, not perection.
One o the beauti-ul things about Jewish holidays such asRosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is thatin Judaism we always have the chance towake up anew, to ask or guidance, and toimprove how we deal with our toughestpersonal, amily, and work-related chal-lenges. But we are not being asked to beperect, nor are we condemned or beinghuman and having our struggles. As yousit in the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippurservices, make sure to treat yoursel with
Fiv wys to b mor prsnt t Hih Holidysrvics this yr
Leonard FeLder, Ph.d.
Specil to JTNews