MOONWALK MONTHLY: ELUL - A High Holiday Appeal for the Skeptics Among Us

Dear Friends of the Moon,

A High Holiday Appeal for the Skeptics Among Us

I know about packing but what does it mean to “prepare,” especially my heart? What’s with everyone talking about their hearts these days, anyway? If it’s time to “prepare” for the High Holy Days, how about sending us a plane ticket to Hawaii, a gift card for a new air conditioner or taking my kids to their dental appointments? Or just put some gas in the car. That’s a fresh start.

This time of year, I hear my own inner skeptic say, “Why bother?” Isn’t this idea of starting the new year over a bit outdated? After all, we are Jews. There’s no Times Square fanfare or a ball to drop. Yes, there are apples and honey, but frankly, I’d rather eat a brownie. 

Where might this “preparation” lead me? I would get all gussied up, brave the traffic, miss work, fight for parking, struggle to find a seat, then what? I would sit in a big, old, echoing building we rarely enter because it reminds us of funerals and weddings turned into divorces. Then I would listen to a rabbi who has no idea who I am and what I’ve been through tell me, “Come on, you’ve got this. Have a little faith. Give a little tzedakah. Call your mother.”

Big exhale. Join me. Exhale. Yes, we are all in it together. 

We are all wondering: How can I begin again? What does forgiveness even look like, let alone sound like? What if I’m not interested in prayer, God or even the idea of being Jewish, especially in light of the news? I’d rather go to yoga. What if I commit to binge watch “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”? That’s culture. That’s tradition. Isn’t that what this time of year is all about? Oh, but I’ll fast on Yom Kippur. 

So why be a Jew this year? Because:

1. We need our tribe. The world is falling apart and many are laughing. The Jewish people have not survived this long to be made a mockery of. 

2. Your voice, your prayers, your questions, your doubts, your joys are needed in synagogues. It is up to us to fill our halls and sanctuaries with our voices. These are our Houses of God. We are safe as we stand together. 

3. We cannot Jew alone. Our existence is an act of revolution, audacity and hope. To Jew requires action, choices, a stand, a way of being in the world that reflects a commitment to contribute — not simply to exist. 

4. We change one another. When we come together, we galvanize our strength, even if wavering, to live with compassion, dignity, peace and justice. 

5. Just as we are searching, God is searching for us in one another. When we look into each other’s eyes, we see the source of all creation. Potential, possibility and peace are not found via our screens, only our screams: our doubts, our fears, our pounding hearts. 

Continue reading my latest piece in the LA Jewish Journal. Please join the discussion on my blog

Wishing you and yours Days of Awe.
May this year be our bravest yet.

With you,
Rabbi Alyson Solomon