President’s October 2019 Column

We enter these Days of Awe Together

We enter these ‘Days of Awe’ as they are called by our people. Such are the days that fall between these two sacred holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipper. The actual Hebrew words are “yamim noraim”, which directly translate to “terrible days”. The shorsh or root of noraim is “fear”. It is not difficult for us to imagine that the religious Jews of the past did truly fear their G-d, the one that reigns over life and death. Even today, we repeat in our service the many ways one could succumb. 

It is not my place to ask if you view these ten days, ascribe to your G-d or see the world in this fearful way. But this very notion is so embedded in the nature of the prayers. It seems ascribing the word of “awe” captures more of the personal sentiment many may ascribe. In actuality, this translation from the Hebrew seems to have missed the literal meaning and may more closely resemble the cultural interpretation we are living. 

As we take time to reflect and as we glimpse the awe in the divine it is natural for us to think of our own life. How could we be better and what new horizons do we foresee? Whether these days are filled with dread, fear or awe know that we each possess the power to progress in the direction you control. And as we think of ourselves it follows that we think to those we love and want G-d’s favor for them all.  

There is no doubt we need not look far to help repair our world. I hope you will take the time to perceive your world in new ways, to see the cracks and delights. If viewed in context of awe or fear, these days may allow us to turn inward and to reflect on one’s life. Each of us are part of circles of communities to which we live in; one of these is your Jewish life and this Temple Judah.

I wish you and those you love, good health, happiness and the gift of awe.

Robert Becker